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Accreditations – Food For Thought?

Accreditations – food for thought?

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With the food industry under increasing inspection as today’s consumers become more aware to issues surrounding food safety and food provenance, recognised accreditations mean BIG business.

As a supplier the right industry accreditations show your customers you take food safety very seriously. It proves the credibility and quality of your products and is undeniably a prerequisite to doing business.

But with so many out there obtaining a long list of accreditations is just not necessary, as with most things in life the key is to do your research and work out which one is most relevant to your type of business, operations and produce.

Food Safety Certification

There are many different certifications us food suppliers can have, but perhaps the one we feel is most important and critical for our business to have is the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. Formerly the British Retail Consortium, Brand Reputation through Compliance (BRC) is a globally recognised UK trade organisation – a worldwide benchmark for best practise in the food industry. Gaining a BRC accreditation gives your brand an internationally recognised mark of food quality, safety and responsibility.

There are currently more than 28,000 BRC certified manufacturers in 130 countries and at Southover Foods, we are very proud to be one of them. Having a BRC accreditation provides our customers with assurance, it also contributes towards due diligence. We have over 30 years of successful food safety, each year our site in Southwick undertakes a two day inspection by a qualified, experienced auditor, usually ex environmental officers. The auditor rigorously challenges our systems to ensure they comply with the BRC Global Standard.

BRC Global Standard

The BRC standard covers the followings areas:

Senior Management Commitment – the implementation of the BRC Global Standard must come from the top with continual development including a food safety culture.

The Food Safety Plan – HACCP – having a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan in place allows us to identify and manage any biological, chemical or physical hazards that could make the food we produce unsafe to eat

Food Safety and Quality Management System – we must implement a system that enables us to produce safe products, meet customer’s expectations and ensure our staff are well trained

Site Standards – the sites where we manufacture and produce our food must be laid out, maintained, cleaned and secured according to strict standards. We must also meet requirements relating to the control of pest and foreign bodies

Product Control – for products to be considered safe, we need to demonstrate that we properly manage things such as allergens, provenance and product testing

Process Control – the HACCP plan must be implemented from day to day and effective procedures must be in place to ensure our products are manufactured to the correct quality

Personal commitment – we are required to ensure that all out staff are trained properly across the area they work in, including knowing about protective clothing and hygiene

Here at Southover, aside from our BRC accreditation we have annual Environmental Health Officer and Trading Standards inspections. Both of these contribute to our objective of ensuring all our products are the highest quality and safety standard. We also maintain our yearly RSPCA membership, their certificate to us allows us to buy from RSPCA approved suppliers and sell labelled RSPCA products to our customers.

In summary, accreditations in our industry are an essential part of a business’ growth plans. Certification bodies play a vital role in the efforts to improve the safety of food systems helping us to produce safe food and gain the trust of our customers.

Most definitely food for thought.

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