The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is a widely accepted set of food safety standards that have been used by businesses around the world since 1998. The standards were set up to unify food standards across the UK and around the world and has since been adopted by 160 countries. Third party BRC audits, because of their very nature and purpose, can aid companies develop their reputations through passed audits; showing how their infrastructure and hygienic culture makes them a safe bet for suppliers and outlets.

However, on the flip side a BRC audit can – if you’re not careful – lead to a halt on production and in some cases, shutdown. A lack of hygienic culture throughout a business can quickly turn into an audit fail, and a huge loss of time and money – not to mention a serious reputational damage.

There are a number of reasons why businesses may fail a BRC audit due to hygiene issues. Here are the top five reasons according to Campden BRI:

  1. Inadequate cleaning and disinfection procedures. This is one of the most common reasons for BRC audit failures. Businesses must have a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection program in place that covers all areas of the food production facility, including the equipment, surfaces, and staff. The cleaning and disinfection program must be properly implemented and documented, with hygiene managers ensuring this program is adhered to at all times.
  2. Poor personal hygiene of food handlers. Food handlers must maintain good personal hygiene at all times. This includes washing hands thoroughly before and after handling food, wearing clean uniforms, and keeping hair and beards tied back. As we have discussed before, developing a good hygienic culture throughout the business, building a clear and intuitive changing room and hygiene program can ensure that personal hygiene is maintained as second nature.
  3. Damaged or defective equipment. Equipment that is not in good repair or that is not properly maintained can be a source of contamination. Businesses must inspect equipment regularly for damage or defects and must take action to repair or replace it as needed. BRC auditors will think nothing of asking to see inside machinery, inside cupboards, under tables or any nook and cranny in the production area. Hygiene and maintenance staff must ensure that all areas of the production area are thoroughly cleaned and maintained, while staff must be encouraged to make clean down part of their routine.
  4. Inadequate pest control. Pests can contaminate food and food contact surfaces. Businesses must have a pest control program in place that includes regular inspections for pests and that takes action to control pests when they are found. In addition to inspections, adequate and relevant pest control measures must be installed throughout the facility to ensure no areas are left vulnerable to pests of any kind.
  5. Unhygienic storage of food and equipment. All ingredients, materials and equipment must be stored in clean and sanitary conditions. This includes storing food at the correct temperatures and rotating food properly, using storage solutions that are easy to clean, prevent build up or growth of bacteria and are made from the correct materials.

By being aware of the BRC standards, and their requirements, and taking steps to ensure hygiene and food safety, businesses can avoid these pitfalls and protect their customers.

In addition, businesses can also take the following steps to ensure that their hygienic furniture and equipment meets BRC standards:

  • Choose furniture and equipment that is made from materials that are easy to clean and disinfect
  • Avoid furniture and equipment with crevices and sharp edges, where food and dirt can collect
  • Select furniture and equipment that is designed to withstand the rigors of food production
  • Instil a hygiene culture throughout the business, from the top down, that makes hygienic practices second nature
  • Hire an internal auditor to keep on top of hygiene standards, inspect furniture and equipment regularly for damage or defects and prepare the business for any upcoming third-party audits.

By following these tips, businesses can help to ensure that their hygienic furniture and equipment meets BRC standards and helps to protect their customers from foodborne illness.

Teknomek is a leading supplier of hygienic furniture and equipment for the food industry. We offer a wide range of products that are designed to ensure audit-ready hygiene to help businesses achieve food safety compliance.

To learn more about how Teknomek can help you achieve food safety compliance, please contact us today.

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