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5-star BRCGS rating

ProCert Achieves the prestigious BRCGS 5-star rating!

A significant step in the food industry: ProCert has proudly received the prestigious 5-star rating from BRCGS. This achievement underlines ProCert's commitment to excellence, safety and quality.

The 5-star rating from BRCGS is a testament to ProCert's unwavering commitment to maintaining the highest standards of food safety and compliance. Through rigorous audits and stringent assessments, ProCert has proven its ability to consistently meet and exceed industry benchmarks, setting a new standard for excellence in the sector.

The 5-star rating from the BRCGS not only underlines ProCert's position as an industry leader, but also gives customers additional confidence in the safety and quality of its products. With this prestigious award, ProCert is able to further strengthen its reputation and drive continued growth and success in the market.

Stay tuned as ProCert continues to raise the bar and set new standards in the food industry.

Information on FSSC 22000 Version 6

Version 6 of FSSC 22000 was published on1 April 2023.

The standard can be found here (Scheme Version 6): Version 6.0 - FSSC 

FSSC has also published a standard with the changes in a different colour. This document is only available in English.

Deadlines

  • Version 6 audits are mandatory from 1 April 2024. Audits according to V 5.1 must take place up to and including the audit date of 31 March 2024. The first audit day is decisive.
  • For every organisation certified today, a version 6 audit must be carried out by 31 March 2025 at the latest. If this cannot be met, then FSSC will automatically withdraw the current V 5.1 certificate on 31 May 2025, without exception.
  • The audit cycle remains the same. The audit type changes for surveillance audits: these are designated as upgrade audits. No generally additional audit time needs to be scheduled for an upgrade audit. However, due to the adjusted calculation by FSSC, there will be general adjustments to the audit duration (see below). After successful completion of the upgrade audit, a new certificate to version 6 is issued, the certificate validity remains unchanged.
  • For unannounced audits with an audit time window that includes 1 April 2024, the following rules apply: the audit time window will either be set to 1 January 2024 - 31 March 2024 (V 5.1 audit) or then from 1 April with a V 6 audit.

New requirements

The following requirments have been integrated into new additional requirements FSSC:

  • Food safety and quality culture
  • Quality control
  • Equipment management (Hygienic Design)
  • Food loss and waste
  • Communication requirements

A number of additions have been made to the existing additional requirements. 

Increase in costs

With the new additional requirements, FSSC has decided to increase the audit duration by 4 h for each audit type. In addition, the time to be charged for the preparation of the audit report including the management of non-conformities has been set at a mandatory 8 hours.

With version 6, the basis for the audit time calculation as well as for the categories is now based on the ISO 22003-1:2022 standard published in 2022. The parameters for calculating the audit time are the number of HACCP studies and the number of full-time employees. 

Clients with central processes

For organisations with central processes, it must be ensured that the central processes are also audited in accordance with V 6 if not all audits at the sites are completed before 31.03.2024. If the central audit of an organisation takes place before 31.03.2023, this will be based on version V5.1. After 01.04.2023, a central audit must then be carried out on the new contents of version 6. The scope of this audit is defined by ProCert. 

Webinars

We conduct webinars for the new version, with our Training Partner Progress Excellence. This will provide you with the specific information you need to implement the new requirements. FSSC will also publish various documents on its website in the coming weeks to support you in interpreting and implementing the new requirements. You can also subscribe to the FSSC newsletter directly Contact - FSSC 

FSSC 24000 Social Responsibility

FSSC aims to set a new standard in the field of social sustainability with FSSC 24000. You can find more information here: Deliver trust and impact in global social responsibility with FSSC 24000 - FSSC  FSSC 24000 is based on PAS 24000. If you are interested, please contact us. 

COID number

Certified Organization Identification Codes (COIDs) are now implemented to maintain the traceability of certified organizations within the FSSC Assurance Platform and the industry.  The COID is a unique code allocated to every (certified) organization that is registered in the Assurance Platform.  The COID stays with the organization to ensure traceability, also in the event of a transfer.   This COID is available for FSSC 22000 certified organizations on the FSSC public register.  The COID code will be included on the FSSC 22000 certificate.  Existing FSSC 22000 certificates will therefore be updated and re-issued to include the COID code, following the next audit that is due in 2023. 

This COID number is recorded in the footer of the certificate. Existing FSSC 22000 certificates will be updated and reissued after the next audit performed.

FSSC On-Site

FSSC has developed a new digital solution which they present here: Discover FSSC On-Site - FSSC   This service is of interest to groups, but unlikely to be of interest to individual companies. In the future, you as a customer will also have access to your data. The conditions as well as the date are not yet fixed.

Newsletter IFS Food Version 8

IFS Food V8 is applicable from 1 October 2023, and mandatory from 1 January 2024.

We would like to inform you about the modifications made to the IFS Food V8. The main axes of these changes include a reduction in the number of requirements, improvement in the structure of the certification protocol, and harmonization of the vocabulary used during the audit.

The scoring system will be better defined, with a return to the B rating as a deviation. Evaluation reports will be clearly structured with standardized sections, and requirements for subcontracted processes will be defined.

The new structure of the certification protocol will take into account the ISO 22003-2 standard in addition to the ISO 17065 requirements for a more detailed certification process. The main objectives of this revision are clarity, concision, and clear audit practices, with a focus on on-site evaluation.

We are also pleased to inform you that the evaluation report revision will make it easier to read and will take into account the needs of stakeholders, with a new standardized format and changes in the report.

Finally, we emphasize the development of Food Safety Culture, which will be a key element of the audit to ensure food safety at all stages of the supply chain.

FSSC 22000 Version 6

Version 6 of the FSSC 22000 system was released on March 31, with a 12-month transition period.

The major changes include, firstly, the realignment of the categories of the food chain in accordance with the ISO 22003-1:2022 standard. Secondly, the scope has been expanded to include trade and brokerage (FII), while agriculture and the FSSC 22000-Quality system standard have been removed.

In addition, requirements for food safety and quality culture have been integrated, while new requirements have been introduced for quality control, food losses and waste, and equipment management.

Existing additional requirements have also been strengthened, including management of allergens and environmental monitoring. Finally, the requirements for the certification process have been modified and clarified. In summary, the version 6 of the FSSC 22000 system has brought significant changes to enhance food safety and quality, while simplifying and clarifying requirements for businesses.

Lifting of IFS suspension

GFSI lifted the suspension of IFS on 8 March 2023.

The lifting of the IFS suspension marks a return to calm with regard to the recognition of IFS certificates. Only in very few cases has this recognition given rise to uncertainty.  IFS commented on this decision as follows: "We provided GFSI with all the necessary information on the case in Italy, underwent an audit with the GFSI benchmark leader on 3 March 2023 and always fulfilled the GFSI benchmarking requirements. We therefore welcome today’s decision of the GFSI Steering Committee to reinstate IFS as a GFSI-recognised CPO. Nevertheless, IFS has considered the suspension of the benchmark by GFSI as unfounded and arbitrary. It has unsettled many IFS-certified companies and has not contributed to food safety. We have always worked to ensure that their customers continue to recognise IFS Certificates and are grateful for the trust placed in us by our global network.”

Suspension of IFS by GFSI

Last Friday, GFSI announced the suspension of IFS for 3 months, without giving any reason. A very unusual measure.

ProCert and all IFS customers were informed by IFS directly on Friday afternoon that IFS will appeal immediately, that the IFS certificates will remain valid and that all customers of the IFS network will continue to recognise these certificates. The audits can be carried out as planned. ProCert is accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) and has signed a legally valid contract with IFS.  This probably politically motivated GFSI decision affects neither the accreditation of ProCert nor the contract with IFS. The audits and certificates remain under accredited conditions where applicable. If you have any questions, you can send your question to quality@procert.ch.

Information concerning Version 9 of the BRCGS Food

Version 8 of BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety is now available. Its application is mandatory from 1 February 2023.

Version 9 of the BRCGS Food is available and can be downloaded free of charge here

 

Effective date:

All BRCGS Food audits from 1 February 2023 onwards must be performed according to version 9.

Overview of the main changes:

• Audit protocol: new option with "blended" audit

• Food safety culture, stronger and more detailed approach and requirements • Improved control of outsourced activities

• New requirements for food fraud and food defence

• New requirements for staff training

• New section for sites with primary processing activities

• Minor changes to several requirements, which need to be adapted before the audit.

Our training partner “Progress Excellence” organized also full day workshops on the subject

Information on version 7 of IFS Food

ProCert has informed his clients about the most important changes that affect them. Below you will find a summary of the points covered.

1. New IFS Food Doctrine V7 applicable from September 2021

At the end of June, IFS published a new Food Doctrine, which is applicable from September 2021. ProCert has informed its clients about the most important points.

2. Obligation to report incidents, registration in the IFS portal (new)

Organisations must inform their certification body within 3 working days of any changes "that may affect the company's ability to meet the certification requirements. The content of these notifications must now also be stored in the IFS portal.

3. Adapted Collaboration Guide (version 6)

ProCert has adapted his guide in various points. A chapter on the subject of incidents has also been added.

4. IFS integrity programme – with announced checks at very short notice

As a reminder: IFS may conduct an assessment with or otherwise request to work with an organisation at any time, for example, to process a complaint from a retailer. IFS carries out such checks annually at all certification bodies on at least 1% of the audited companies.

5. First IFS Food V7 Assessments &Preparation Forms

ProCert has created two forms which organisations are asked to complete before their first IFS Food Version 7 Assessment, so that the auditor can prepare the first IFS Assessment Report according to Version 7 quickly and without errors.

6. Head office and central functions

Assessments of central functions are also associated with certain risks for organisations. Extract from IFS Food V7: "If a serious non-conformity is detected during the IFS assessment of the head office /central administration, all assessed production sites are also affected and the certificates of these production sites are suspended".

7. Unannounced assessments

From 2021, every third audit or assessment must be unannounced, according to the requirements of the GFSI. This means that ProCert has until 2023 to implement this requirement.

8. Data update in IFS Portal

Certification bodies only can edit and update the master data of a company. Therefore, they depend on companies to inform them immediately if anything changes in the legal form, address, phone numbers and IFS contact person and emergency contact.

9. New IFS registration fees for uploads as of 1 January 2022

IFS has informed as of mid-July 2021 that IFS fees will be increased from 1 January 2022 as follows. The fee for all main standards (Food, Broker, Logistics, HPC, PAC Secure, Wholesale/Cash & Carry) will be increased from 300 euros to 350 euros.

10. Reminder: ProCert food safety culture self-assessment tool

At the end of March, ProCert has released a Food Safety Culture Self-Assessment Tool. This tool can be downloaded free of charge from the ProCert website under Downloads.

ProCert tool for self-assessment in food safety culture

The requirement for a food safety culture is now a legal obligation in the EU. Regulation (EU) 2021/382 of 3 March 2021, which includes requirements in the field of food safety culture, entered into force on 24 March.

The ProCert management has created a tool based on a self-assessment with 12 key questions that companies can use free of charge in their organisation. With these questions, supported by concrete implementation examples and possible consequences in case of insufficient implementation, they will quickly get an overview of the situation in their organisation.

The purpose of this self-assessment is to get companies thinking about how to implement an effective food safety culture.

This tool can be downloaded from the ProCert website, under Downloads. It also contains a large number of questions and answers, which have also been published on the ProCert website under the new FAQ section, Food Safety Culture.

Publication of the new IFS Food Version 7

IFS – International Featured Standards has announced the publication of the new IFS Food Version 7.

IFS Food is a worldwide acknowledged standard for assessing food manufacturers with a strong focus on food safety and the quality of processes and products.

The new version of this standard gives more clarity about what is expected from auditors when they perform an IFS Assessment. The requirements now have a more prescriptive nature, and the new structure makes it easier to work with the standard. More emphasis has been put on the on-site evaluation and less on documentation. The assessment checklist has been aligned with the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements version 2020.1, FSMA, and EU regulations.

For more information, please check our FAQ section and our training program.

New BRCGS registration fees

Certain BRCGS registration fees will be modified as of 1 August 2020.

This change concerns in particular the service package rates applicable to the Core Schemes (Food Safety, Packaging Materials, Agents & Brokers, Storage & Distribution and Retail), whose fee will increase from 590 EUR to 640 EUR from 1 August 2020.

The fee for certificate extension up to 6 months will be 320 EUR from 1 August 2020.

BRCGS Product Certification Programs

The BRCGS has published two product certification programs:

  • Gluten Free Certification Program 
  • Plant-Based Global Standard

These programs are open to any food processing company and allow the use of specific logos on the packaging of certified products.

You can consult the details of these programs under https://www.brcgs.com/brcgs/gluten-free-certification-program/ and https://www.brcgs.com/brcgs/plant-based-global-standard/.

If you are interested, please contact your account manager or the BRC Survey Officer.

News about FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Mandatory survey and new handling of corrections

Mandatory survey

FSSC asks certified organisations to clarify their status with regard to the impact of the pandemic. ProCert has prepared a questionnaire for this purpose, which was sent to all clients. This questionnaire does not need to be completed for clients with official requests for audit postponement or certificate extensions.

ProCert will provide information via the FSSC portal on the status of its clients before 1 July 2020.

New handling of corrections of minor non-conformities for audits from 1 June 2020.

FSSC has decided that for all audits from 1 June onwards, corrections will now be implemented within 28 instead of 90 days after the last audit day. During these 28 days, ProCert must also carry out the verification of implementation with submitted evidence.

The corrective action plan must now also be drawn up within these 28 days and validated and approved by ProCert.

Failure to comply with this 28-day deadline will result in the suspension of the certificate (as of today).

The ProCert portal will be released on 2 June and this adaptation will be integrated.

The ProCert Collaboration guide for food safety management systems has been adapted accordingly.

The remote audit as a real alternative

As a result of the current crisis with the coronavirus, direct contacts have to be reduced to a minimum and on-site audits have proved difficult or even impossible. Remote audits are the solution.

A rapid return to normality is not to be expected. A large number of audits are postponed or cancelled. This does not have to happen: remote audits can be carried out.

Possible for all standards?

All standards except IFS Food, BRC GS Food and FSSC 22000.

How does that work in practice?

ProCert has set out the organisation and implementation of remote audits in the collaboration guide. The collaboration guide is available to all clients on the ProCert Portal. 

ProCert offers free information webinars for clients (see webinars) 

For further information, clients can contact the ProCert contact persons, programme managers and market directors. 

Publication of IFS Food V7 postponed

The possibility for certification bodies to become IFS Food accredited has been available since the first publication of the IFS Food Standard in 2002. Accreditation is an essential part of guaranteeing the integrity of the IFS standards, which the certification bodies then demonstrate through the quality of their own certification activities.

With the establishment of a uniform European procedure, which necessitates a program evaluation (EA 1/22) by the European Accreditation Forum (EA), IFS is now formally required to comply with this procedure and undergo a program evaluation for IFS Food Version 7.

However, as a result IFS Food Version 7 will only be published once the evaluation by the German Accreditation Body (DAkkS) has successfully been completed.

The publication of IFS Food Version 7 has therefore been postponed to summer 2020 at the earliest. It will become applicable for certification one year after publication.

FSSC Version 5: additional requirements

FSSC has approved and published additional requirements to ISO 22000:2018,which are mandatory with the V5 protocol.

For food chain categories C, D, I, G and K

In addition to ISO 22000:2018 clause 7.1.6 “Control of externally provided processes, products or services”, the organization shall have a procedure for procurement in emergency situations to ensure that products still conform to specified requirements and the supplier has been evaluated.

Interpretation: emergency situations are for example the disruption of the supply of a raw material by a supplier, in which case the organization must procure from another supplier that has not been approved under standard approval procedures.

The emergency procurement process must be able to assess the risk of such a procurement and propose adequate controls and checks to mitigate that risk, such as

  • A more thorough inspection of incoming lots
  • Require more detailed analysis reports
  • Carry out sampling for broader analysis
  • Applying detailed and formally accepted specifications
  • Require evidence of third party certification

For food chain category I (packaging)

In addition to ISO 22000:2018 clause 8.5.1.3 “Characteristics of end products”, the organization shall have specified requirements in place in case packaging is used to impart or provide a functional effect on food (e.g. shelf life extension).

For food chain category CI (Processing of perishable animal products)

  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 9.2, the organization shall have a policy for the procurement of animals, fish and seafood which are subject to control of prohibited substances (e.g. pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, heavy metals
  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 10.1, the organization shall have specified requirements for an inspection process at lairage and/or at evisceration to ensure animals are fit for human consumption.
  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 16.2, the organization shall have specified requirements in place that define post slaughter time and temperature in relation with chilling or freezing of the products.

FSSC 22000 Version 5: Important modifications

The new version 5 of the FSSC 22000 contains certain modifications of importance. We summarise the most important points below.

90-day deadline for corrections

From now on, corrections must be implemented within 90 days after the audit. Evidence must be uploaded on the ProCert Portal. If this deadline is not met, we are required by the FSSC to suspend the certificate.

Procedure in case of critical and major non-conformities

  • In case of confirmed critical non-conformities, the certificate must be immediately suspended for a maximum period of 6 months. A post-audit must be performed.
  • In case of major non-conformities, corrective actions must be implemented within 28 days, with a possible on-site audit. If this deadline of maximum 28 days is not met, the certificate must be suspended.

New requirements with ISO 22000:2018 on the subject of interested parties

If there are any problems interpreting the new ISO 22000:2018 Standard: we have published a few examples of topics from interested parties for our customers on the ProCert Portal.

Obligation to provide information

Customers must inform us of any changes in their organization. In the past, this concerned only food safety issues.

Latest developments in connection with the BRC Global Standard Food

Interpretation of requirement 1.1.2

The following position statement has been agreed to ensure expectations relating to compliance with clause 1.1.2; its consistent application at certificated sites and assessment during audits are understood. The clause is applicable to all sites certificated to Issue 8 of the Standard and shall be audited as part of all audits of the Standard. In summary, the clause requires sites to define and maintain a clear plan for the development and continuing improvement of food safety culture. This plan must include:

  • Clearly defined activities that will be completed
  • Involve all sections of the site that have an impact of product safety (whilst specific activities may be relevant to certain departments or roles, overall the plan must ensure that all relevant section/roles are covered)
  • An action plan indicating how the identified activities will be undertaken/completed
  • Measurement of the activities (i.e. where they completed, where the correct people involved, were activities successful, any other learnings)
  • Intended timescales for the completion of the activities
  • A review of the effectiveness of completed activities.

Where sites are non-compliant, the non-conformities shall be graded as follows:

Major Non-conformity

Where the site does not have a documented plan for food safety and quality culture. In this context a plan is more than a short statement of intent, but documentation incorporating the requirements of the clause (as summarised above).

Minor Non-conformity

Where a documented plan exists, but is:

  • of poor quality (e.g. insufficiently detailed, for example missing timescales for completion or absence of clear action plans)
  • does not cover all the relevant areas or staff
  • not fully implemented (e.g. some activities not implemented or not completed to predefined schedule).
  • Site review of the effectiveness of completed activities.

The third bullet point in the clause requires sites to undertake a review of the effectiveness of completed activities. However, as audits to the Standard only commenced in February 2019 it is possible that this review of the success of the programme, would not always be implemented in year 1 and therefore non-compliance with this bullet point is not considered a non-conformity until the site’s second audit to Issue 8.

Corrective action, root cause analysis and preventive action plans shall be developed in accordance with the section 2.3 of the audit protocol.

New calculator for audit duration

From 1 April 2020, the duration of on-site audits must comply with the new version of the calculator. For audits already covered by an agreement with the sites for 2020, this rule will apply from 1 January 2021. Since most ProCert customers already have signed a contract, it will in principle be adapted for 2021.

What are the main changes?

  • The duration of the on-site audit will be increased, on average, by 2 hours per site per year.
  • If the organization has high-risk, high-care and ambient high-care production areas, the duration shall be increased by 2 hours for each type of area.
  • If the organization integrates traded goods, 1 to 2 hours will have to be added.

The rules for additional modules do not change.

BRC Global Standard for Food Safety has been published!

Version 8 of BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is now available. Its application is mandatory from 1 February 2019.

The new version includes many changes, among others, two new chapters: Chapter 8, which brings together all the requirements for high-risk and high-care areas, and Chapter 9, which transforms the voluntary module "Traded Goods" from Version 7 into mandatory requirements.

The standard introduces dozens of new requirements, but also, an in-depth review of chapters such as the first chapter on the commitment of the management which includes 3 new requirements, and 7 modified requirements to introduce the notion of the food safety culture.

Other chapters, such as Vendor Approval (chapter 3.5), already quite detailed in Version 7, has been revised to provide further clarification on vendor audits. The chapter on managing outsourced processes has also been consolidated by new requirements.

You can download the standard here.

We are providing you with the new BRC checklist which you can download here.

ProCert offers you a webinar (click here) to better understand these changes and to prepare you for your first audit according to this new Version 8.

New BRC fees and date of implementation of BRC V 8

BRC increases the fee and the date of implementation is known.

BRC will offer new services through their portal to better control the food chain The details are not yet known.

For this reason the BRC has increased the fee from GBP 300 to GBP 450 (Euro 510) for all audits from 1 August 2018, so before the implementation of version 8.

The fees for the additional modules have all been aligned to GBP 100 (Euro 115), for each of these modules (ASDA, FSMA, etc.), with the exception of the Food Safety Culture Excellence v2 module. The ASDA fee is not yet definitively confirmed.

The new version will be applicable for all BRC audits from 1 February 2019 (and not from 1 January 2019 as communicated in our Newsletter).