BRC Global Standards published the third issue of its international BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution on Aug. 1. Audits against Issue 3 will begin on Feb. 1, 2017.

Originally introduced in 2006, the standard for storage and distribution was developed by a multi-stakeholder group, including industry representatives, certification bodies and retailers, to provide the essential certification link between the range of BRC manufacturing standards and the end users, retailers and foodservice companies.

The standard is designed to ensure best practice in the handling, storage and distribution of products and promotes continuous improvement in operating practices to ensure product safety, quality and legality. It also enables certification of a range of contracted services commonly operated by storage companies on behalf of their customers to take into account the often diverse operations and networks making up the distribution chain.

Issue 3 builds upon the experience from the previous issue. In revising the standard, the current requirements have been developed to ensure they are robust enough to meet the industry needs. Where applicable, requirements have been aligned with other Global Standards to ensure consistency and confidence throughout the entire supply chain.

“The development of Issue 3 has been based on the values of the previous issues while ensuring that the update reflects the latest best practices,” says Thomas Owen, BRC Global Standards scheme manager. “The consultation with the users of the standard set the main focus for the rewrite on improving product security and reducing vulnerabilities in the supply chain.”

So what’s new in Issue 3?

BRC says the development of Issue 3 followed a wide consultation to understand stakeholders’ requirements. A review of emerging issues was also carried out in the logistics industry and the industries it serves. The information has been developed and reviewed by a working group composed of stakeholders representing different sectors of the logistics industry, retailers, brand owners, certification bodies and independent technical experts.

The focus for Issue 3 is:

- Continuing to ensure consistency of the audit process

- Grading system to increase recognition for better-performing companies

- Unannounced options – full and 2-part to give even more confidence to customers that standards are constantly being applied

- Greater consistency with the requirements of the other BRC Global Standards

- Vehicle and load security

- More robust requirements for own-label wholesalers to reduce their exposure to fraud

- Increased supplier approval requirements

- Focus on companies providing contracted services in areas that have traditionally resulted in recalls and withdrawals (e.g., label and packing management).