Food and beverage

BRCGS Consumer Product Standards, issue 4

BRCGS Consumer Products

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The standards covering personal care, household products and merchandise provide a framework to manage product safety, integrity, legality and quality, and the operational controls for these criteria.

Companies can select implementation and certification to the Foundation or Higher levels for suppliers, offering flexibility and choice. The standard is split in two, one covering personal care and household products, e.g. cosmetics, toiletries personal care items, and household chemicals and cleaners. The other covering general merchandise, e.g. electrical equipment, toys, furniture, textiles.  

Benefits: 

Companies implementing and seeking certification to the BRCGS Consumer Products Standards will benefit from the following:  

  • Recognizes the diversity of products and product technologies within consumer products 
  • Widens the scope to include the manufacture of raw materials and components as finished products 
  • Are compatible with ISO9001 and cGMP 
  • Better protect their brand and customers  
  • Gain greater brand confidence when applying and getting certified to globally recognized schemes 
  • Enable faster time to market as certification allows faster procurement from new suppliers 
  • Reduce the audit burden when applying globally recognized industry standards 
  • Manage supply chain risk and drive continual improvement 

The standard: 

There is a consistent focus on:  

  • The importance of management commitment. 
  • Product risk assessments to ensure the product's design is safe and legal before production. 
  • Process risk assessment as a tool to ensure potential issues in the production of the products have been understood, prioritized and effectively managed. 
  • The design and maintenance of the factory and production environment to ensure this is suitable to manufacture and protects products from contamination. 
  • An effective product testing and sampling process.  

Like is seen in all BRC Global Standards - the structure is well defined and designed in clear chapters starting with Senior Management Commitment – needed to ensure that the requirements are fully implemented.   

There are two standards within the BRCGS Consumer Products portfolio:  

  • Personal Care and Household products: Covers formulated and fabricated products e.g. cosmetic, nappies, medical devices, food wrap, household cleaning product – those considered to have typically higher requirements for hygiene standards due to the nature of the usage of the product.  
  • General Merchandise items: Covers a wide range of mainly fabricated product such as electrical items, toys, furniture, textiles, etc. Where management of production processes to ensure product safety and quality is the primary concern.  

These standards are not intended to replace requirements to demonstrate regulatory compliance. They do review and assess the ability of the manufacturing organization to demonstrate up to date knowledge of and compliance with regulatory requirements in the country or regions of intended sale. This forms a key part of the audit activity.   

Other key elements within both standards require: 

  • Document a product risk management system – product risk assessment, product labelling and claims (and needed and packaging materials  
  • Product safety management system including the elements of supplier management, document control, internal audit, corrective and preventive actions, specifications, traceability, handling of complaints, product recall, etc.  
  • Factory and site standards – internal and external standards, security, maintenance, housekeeping and hygiene, staff facilities, waste control and disposal, pest control, warehouse and storage 
  • Requirements for suitable product inspection and testing – including pre shipment samples (as required) product sample control  
  • Process control – control of operations, calibration and equipment maintenance, product contamination control, stock control and product release 
  • Training of personnel, protective clothing and hygiene practices commensurate with the product produced 

How to get certified? 

  1. Get the standard. 
    Understand the requirements and gauge if your site meets the requirements.  

  2. Measure readiness
    Perform a self-assessment to determine readiness for the certification process. An independent Gap Assessment may be considered for review of the organization’s procedures and processes so that a plan for improvements can be established.  

  3. Select a certification body.
    When the site is deemed ready for the certification audit, contact a certification body, such as DNV GL who is accredited to perform the certification audit.  

  4. Prepare for the audit
    The certification body will require accurate information such as scope of products made, any requested exclusions, number of staff, details of products and technologies employed in the manufacture of the process (the number of product risk assessments the organization has) and the size of the site. This information is  used to assess the needed requirements and qualifications for the auditor(s) and the duration of the audit, as outlined by the BRCGS. It is recommended to access BRCGS Participate where position statements and supporting information, guidelines may be accessed and support them in their preparation for certification. 

  5. Perform the audit.
    Agreement on the level (Foundation or Higher Level) is required prior to the audit. The certification audit will be planned between both parties. At the audit it will be expected that observation of the manufacturing process for all products defined in the scope requested will be observed together with the supporting systems, procedures and data.  

  6. Become certified.
    Any issues identified will be communicated at the end of the audit and requires correction, root cause analysis and corrective actions. Evidence of the actions put in place must be submitted to the certification body. A technical assessment will confirm that the issues have been addressed. When verified by the certification body, the certificate will be issued.  

  7. Maintain certification.
    The certificate is valid for 3 years and annual surveillance audits to ensure continued compliance. Every third year, a re-certification audit is executed. 

How can DNV GL help?

Services we can provide:  

  • Gap Assessment.
    DNV GL offers gap assessment aginst the requirements of the standards with the aim of helping sites to be prepared for their certification audit. This assessment highlights areas where improvements are required in order for a site to be successful in their certification audit.  
  • Certification to BRCGS standards.
    Certification of your product safety management system to both BRCGS standards.  
  • Other types of certification. 
    BRCGS standards on consumer products does not cover Health and Safety, Environmental compliance, Sustainability, Security and Data Security or Ethical requirements. DNV GL can assess compliance against all these requirements with specialized trained auditors as needed by International recognized standards.  
DNV GL has an extensive network of auditors whom have a wide range of experience in auditing organizations for products and processes covered under the scope of BRCGS Consumer Products – Personal and Home Care and General Merchandising standards.   Within the global network for DNV GL, auditors are located within many countries who can offer audits in local language with the knowledge and understanding of local customs.

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