The BRC Agents and Brokers standard has been quietly in the background now for nearly 18 months and although it has had a slow start it is now starting to gain some momentum; helped along by the introduction of the recently introduced BRC Food, issue 7 standard.
Following the horsemeat scandal a couple of years ago control of the supply chain has come under increased scrutiny as it became more evident that we didn’t know as much as we thought we knew about the provenance of our food.
The BRC Agents and Brokers standard was created to help agents, brokers and traders have a framework which could be used to differentiate between those companies that have professional Food Safety and Quality Management Systems and those that don’t. The Agents and Brokers standard includes lots of the same requirements as the BRC Food and Storage and Distribution standards, with a similar emphasis on key elements such as raw material supplier approval, supplier of services approval, risk assessments based upon well-established HACCP principles and full traceability systems.
The BRC Food Standard, issue 7, introduced a direct link between the food standard and the Agents and Brokers standard (clause 188.8.131.52) which unambiguously puts the responsibility for risk assessment of manufacturers which are supplying via an agent or broker onto the purchasing site. This could mean that the customer of the agent and broker could demand to audit the supplier or use another method to satisfy themselves that they were not taking any unexpected risks by using this site.
This clause has been amended a little via Position Statement FO81 which gives customers of agents and brokers until the end of June 2016 to fully comply with this requirement, although has served to focus attention on the supply chain. We can expect to see lots of agents and brokers wishing to demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd over the coming years.
If you would like to find out more about the BRC Agents and Brokers standard a free copy can be downloaded from BRC Participate.
Ian Trevor is a BRC Registered Consultant for the BRC Food Standard and also the BRC Agents and Brokers standard.