BRCGS Global Standards Terms Is it Subcontracted, Outsourced or Traded

Feeling confused about subcontracting, outsourcing, and traded goods within BRCGS Global Standards? You’re not alone! In this video, we’ll break down these terms in simple language and explain how they apply within BRC guidelines.

To ensure the safety of all food produced, the food industry must follow numerous standards. BRCGS (formerly known as BRC) first published its Global Standard for Food Safety in 1998.

Developed to help the food industry comply with UK and EU food safety laws, it’s become an internationally recognised benchmark for best practice in food safety, quality, and responsibility, with over 17,000 BRC-certified sites worldwide.

Now in its ninth issue, the standard gives organisations working in the food industry a framework for managing the safety, integrity, and quality of their products and services. This includes retailers, manufacturers, importers, caterers, and ingredient suppliers. Many retailers across the UK, the US, and Europe will only do business with suppliers who have passed an audit and been accredited by a BRCGS certification body.

Understanding the nuances of BRC standards can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to terms like subcontracting, outsourcing, and traded products. These seemingly straightforward concepts can sometimes overlap and cause confusion during audits. Let’s delve into these terms and provide some clarity for a seamless BRC compliance journey.

▶️ Subcontracting: This broad term encompasses any situation where a third party handles your product, whether for processing, storage, or even ancillary services like pest control. Essentially, if someone else is involved in the physical handling of your product, it falls under the subcontracting umbrella.

▶️ Outsourcing: This term is more specific and implies a defined process flow. Your product begins with you, travels to a third party for a specific task (processing or storage), and then returns to your facility. Think of it as sending your ingredients to a manufacturer for production and then receiving the finished goods back for packaging and distribution. It’s crucial to remember that outsourcing always involves a contract and, therefore, inherently includes subcontracting.

▶️ Traded Products: These are products you purchase, store, and sell without any additional processing or repackaging. The only handling allowed is receiving the product, warehousing it, picking it up for orders, and dispatching it. As soon as you alter the product in any way, it no longer qualifies as “traded” and must adhere to the full BRC standards.

Real-world scenarios often present a blend of these categories. You might have a subcontracted activity that also fulfils the definition of outsourcing (e.g., sending components to an assembler and receiving the finished product). However, processing the product yourself disqualifies it from being “traded,” even if it was subcontracted.

If you find yourself grappling with BRC clause applicability due to overlapping terms, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Contact organisations like STC or QTC for training and consulting services. Their expertise can ensure you navigate BRC requirements with confidence and achieve smooth certification.

Remember, clear communication and a thorough understanding of these key terms are essential for demonstrating BRC compliance and maintaining product safety within your organisation.

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Thursday, 11 April, 2024

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