BRCGS Food Safety Certification

GFSI-level Standard for Food Safety

What is BRCGS Food Safety Certification?

BRCGS certification meets the GFSI compliance requirements for suppliers to major retailers, brand owners, and manufacturers. BRCGS certification is relevant to any food processing or packing operation in which food is handled, processed, packed, stored, or distributed, including packhouses, slaughterhouses, food processors, canneries, and handlers of high-risk ready-to-eat products. Manage your risk and build confidence in your products with certification to the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety. 

SCS audits to BRCGS Start!, BRCGS Food, BRCGS Gluten-Free, BRCGS Storage & Distribution and BRCGS Packaging Materials Standard.

Certification Criteria

BRCGS certification criteria address the following seven areas:

  • Senior Management Commitment and Continual Improvement
  • HACCP Food Safety Plan
  • Food Safety and Quality Management System
  • Site Standards
  • Product Control
  • Process Control
  • Personnel

Why Choose SCS?

SCS Global Services conducts audits in sixteen BRCGS certification categories. We have three decades of food safety and HACCP expertise and our highly skilled auditors are known for thoroughness, timeliness, and professionalism, with rapid turnaround for most audits. SCS can also support your certification decision by walking you through a pre-assessment process. Pre-assessment is a non-scored mock audit designed to assess the level of your preparedness for a certification audit. Ask about combining a pre-assessment with your initial audit for greater efficiency.

SCS offers a full suite of food and agriculture certifications including Non-GMO Project Verification, Gluten-Free, SMETA, and more. Combine BRCGS Certification with complementary services and earn recognition for multiple achievements most cost-effectively.

  • Benefits
  • FAQs
  • Process
  • Training
  • Service Offering
  • Program Documents

Earning BRCGS certification provides several potential advantages:

  • Limit Risk - Minimize the potential for food safety incidents and recalls.
  • Become a Preferred Supplier - Satisfy retailers and other customers who require their manufacturers and suppliers to be GFSI certified.
  • Competitive Edge - Assure your customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled to rigorous standards.
  • Improvement over Time - Demonstrate continual improvements to quality and safety processes.
  • Professional Service - SCS is known for our thorough, timely audits.
  • Combined Services - Take advantage of our broad food and agriculture certification expertise, from safety to sustainability, to earn recognition for multiple achievements most cost-effectively.

What is BRCGS certification?

BRCGS is an internationally recognized standard for food safety benchmarked to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). BRCGS certified manufacturing facilities demonstrate compliance with comprehensive food safety initiatives, including an audited HACCP plan, documented quality management system, demonstrated environmental controls for products, a culture of quality and personnel trained in sound food handling practices.

Why get a BRCGS certification?

The BRCGS Global Standards are used by suppliers in over 100 countries to protect food safety during the manufacture, storage and distribution of food and food packaging materials. BRCGS Certification helps companies demonstrate compliance with the GFSI and gain access to top U.S. and EU retailers.

Is BRCGS certification only for companies located in Europe?

No, BRCGS started in Europe under the name British retail consortium. BRC has become BRCGS and is now a globally recognized food and safety certification program.

Are there specific benchmarks or minimum requirements that need to be achieved in order to receive BRCGS certification?

Yes – the BRCGS START! Program is a great place to start if you are looking into growing into certification. You can also schedule a Pre-assessment to determine your audit readiness.

What is BRCGS START! Program and how is it different from BRCGS certification?

BRCGS START! Program is the beginner level program, designed to help small and medium size operations to work towards aligning with the BRCGS Food Safety Certification.  BRCGS START! is not GFSI recognized but puts you on the path to achieve a full GFSI certification. BRCGS food safety certification is GFSI benchmarked.

Are there different BRCGS certification categories?

Yes – BRCGS food safety has 16 categories. BRCGS also offers other standards including packaging, gluten free, storage and distribution.

What BRCGS standards does SCS certify to?

SCS can certify to the following BRCGS Global Standards: Global Standard for Food Safety, Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials, and Global Standard for the Gluten-Free Certification Program.

How do I prepare for my BRCGS audit?

Your company will need to prepare and supply SCS with background information prior to the audit, including:

  • A summary of critical control points (CCPs)
  • The process flow diagram
  • A simple site plan
  • The management organizational chart
  • The list of products or product groups included within the audit scope
  • Typical shift patterns
  • Production schedules, to allow audits to cover relevant processes (e.g., night-time manufacture)
  • Recent quality issues, withdrawal or customer complaints and other relevant performance data

What can we expect during a BRCGS Food Safety Certification audit?

A week or two before the audit, the auditor will reach out with you to confirm the scope and the audit plan. The auditor will arrive at the agreed upon time as laid out in the audit plan. An opening meeting will be conducted, during which time the auditor will again go over the audit plan. The auditor will spend 2-3 days on site and will spend a percentage of that time on the production floor, a outside survey of the building and the balance of time will be spent on document review.

How long will the BRCGS audit take?

Audit length is determined by the size of the facility and the number of processes being audited between 2 and 4 days

Can we bundle BRCGS with other GFSI or food certifications so audits can take place at the same time?

Yes – SCS can bundle some services to streamline your audit experience.

  1. View the Standard

    To fully assess your level of compliance to BRCGS Standards, visit the BRCGS website and view the Standard.

  2. Apply for Auditing

    Fill out an SCS Application form, which provides  details of your site and operation. SCS returns a proposal for your approval with a suggested scope of work, timeline and quote. To initiate the certification process, return a signed proposal and Work Order.

  3. Self-Assessment

    Review your current systems and practices against the requirements of the BRCGS Standard in order to identify areas which may need further work before undertaking a full audit. Consider undertaking a pre-assessment with SCS or use the BRCGS developed Self-Assessment Tool.

  4. Schedule an Audit

    SCS assigns an auditor and audit dates are proposed. Once an audit date is confirmed, an audit plan is provided to ensure that your team is prepared.

  5. On-site Audit

    An on-site audit of your operation is carried out to ensure that your operation complies with the BRCGS Standard. After completion, the SCS auditor provides you with an Audit Report, which lists any non-conformities. You can discuss these findings and ask questions with the auditor at the closing meeting.

  6. Complete Corrective Actions

    Identified non-conformities must be addressed and evidence of corrective actions provided to SCS within 28 days. In some circumstances it may be necessary for the auditor to return to the site to check that appropriate corrective action has been taken.

  7. Make Certification Decision

    SCS reviews the Audit Report and Corrective Action documentation to make a certification decision. SCS can also provide client marketing support.

  8. Receive Certificate

    For those who achieve certification, a final audit report and certificate is issued within 42 days of the original audit date. A copy of the report is automatically sent to the BRCGS, and your company is listed in the online BRCGS Directory.

    Note: It is a principle of the BRCGS scheme that the audit report is owned by the company paying for the audit. Copies can only be provided to other parties at the request of the owner (a copy is provided to the BRCGS and this is held confidentially).

SCS Global Services offers BRCGS courses, HACCP training (IHA Approved) and Internal Auditor training.  Courses are offering instructor-led on-site and webinar.

The BRCGS standard describes three levels of involvement:

Enrollment program

For factories where food safety is still developing. This program allows recognition of improvements in food safety by providing a scored audit for sites that are not ready for certification. The audit reports and scores can be shared with customers and are intended to enable sites to develop within a framework that will eventually enable full certification.

Announced audit program

For existing certificated sites. This is the same audit process used for sites within the enrollment program. Successful sites are awarded a certificate with the grade AA, A, B or C, depending on the number and type of non-conformities identified. In accordance with GFSI standard requirements, 1 in 3 audits must be unannounced.

Voluntary unannounced program

This voluntary program provides added confidence in certification to customers and creates marketing benefits when the top BRCGS grade of AA+ is achieved. Available to factories with mature food safety systems that are currently awarded a certification Grade A+, A, B+ or B. Two options are available for an unannounced program. Option 1 involves a facility walk-through and verification of good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Option 2 requires two separate on-site audits: Part 1 involves a walk-through and verification of GMPs, while Part 2 involves review of documented systems, procedures and records.

File Name Document
BRCGS Global Standard for Packaging Materials Visit Site
BRCGS Global Standard for Storage & Distribution Visit Site
BRCGS Global Standard Gluten-Free Visit Site
BRCGS Global Standard START! Visit Site

Apply Now

Ready to start the process? Complete an Application.

Bernadette Goldstein