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BRC/IoP Global Standard – Food Packaging and Other Packaging Materials

Introduction
For many years, packaging manufacturers and suppliers have commissioned hygiene audits, in order to satisfy the ‘due diligence’ defence found in United Kingdom legislation, and to improve their own premises and practices. Many retailers and food manufacturers also inspected packaging premises in order to satisfy themselves that systems and procedures at their packaging suppliers meet their individual requirements.

In 2001 the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Institute of Packaging (IoP) published a joint standard covering food packaging materials to assist retailers and food manufacturers in the fulfilment of their legal obligations. With the assistance of representatives from throughout the industry, the Standard aimed to provide a common basis for the evaluation of companies. Since its introduction, the Standard has become a benchmark by which these evaluations are undertaken and in 2004 the scope was extended to cover all types of packaging materials.

Objectives
The objective of the BRC/IoP Packaging Standard is to specify safety, quality and operational criteria which are required to be in place within any manufacturing organisation supplying packaging to UK retailers, their suppliers or other Standard users. The format and content of the Standard are designed to allow an assessment of a company's premises, operational systems, and procedures, by an accredited third party certification body. Amongst the aims of this standard are:

  • the intention to minimise duplication of auditing,
  • the reduction of conflicting requirements from various customers, and
  • the promotion of "best practice" for the industry as a whole.

Benefits
There are a number of benefits arising from the use of the BRC/IoP Standard which include the following:

  • Evaluation and registration by an accredited third-party certification body will allow recognition throughout the industry.
  • Common verification criteria will allow both manufacturers and suppliers to report upon their status to food retailers and other organisations in the supply chain.
  • As the Standard is comprehensive in scope covering the areas of quality, hygiene and product safety throughout the packaging industry, no additional certification of these areas should be necessary.
  • At least part of the 'due diligence' requirements for the packaging manufacturer/supplier, packer/filler and retailer will be met through certification. Packaging manufacturers may also use this Standard to ensure their suppliers are following good hygiene practices and so complete the 'due diligence' chain.
  • Ongoing surveillance and follow up of any corrective actions helps to establish a self-improving quality, hygiene and product safety system within the audited company.

Requirements
The Standard requires:

  • the adoption of a formal Hazard Analysis System
  • a documented Technical Management System
  • the control of factory standards, products, processes and personnel.