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The BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials – Issue 4

The BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials: Issue 4 was published in February 2011 (audits commenced against Issue 4 on August 1st 2011). The Standard has been revised to provide greater focus on quality and functional aspects of packaging which compliment the established requirements of factory hygiene.

GFSI Benchmarked

When the GFSI first developed a benchmark for packaging standards in 2010, the BRC was involved in the Benchmark Process Technical Committee. The BRC/IOP Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials issue 4 then became the first packaging standard to become GFSI recognized, ensuring increased recognition for the more than 2000 BRC packaging certified sites worldwide.

To learn more about the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials, watch our free on-demand webinar or download the webinar slides.

What Does the BRC Packaging Standard Cover?

The BRC/IOP Global Standard for Packaging is designed to assist packaging manufacturers and converters to adopt good manufacturing practices and supporting quality management systems to develop and manufacture safe, legal packaging materials meeting their customers’ quality requirements.

The packaging industry is divided into specific product technologies and auditors are trained to have knowledge and experience of the particular technologies in order to be registered.

The sectors are:

  • Glass
  • Paper and Board
  • Metals – cans and foil products
  • Plastics
  • Wood and other materials

The Standard recognizes 2 levels of hygiene risk depending on the end use of the packaging materials for instance direct food contact is the highest level and will fall into the high hygiene risk category, while non-food packaging will fall into the low hygiene risk category. The requirements of the standard are itemized separately depending upon the level.

The standard consists of 6 chapters all of which are applicable:

  1. Senior Management Commitment and Continual Improvement - for any packaging quality management system to be effective it is essential that the factory management are fully committed to its application.
  2. Hazard and Risk Management System - the basis for the program is an effective Hazard and Risk Assessment which is based on the principles from the internationally recognized Codex Alimentarius system.
  3. Technical Management Systems - sets out requirements for the technical management of product quality and hygiene practices building upon the principles of ISO 9000. This includes requirements for product specifications, supplier monitoring, traceability, and the management of incidents and product recalls.
  4. Site Standards - defining expectations for the production environment including the layout and maintenance of the buildings and equipment, cleaning, pest control and waste management.
  5. Product and Process Control - including requirements at the product design and development stage, process control and product inspection and testing. This includes a specific section on managing foreign body and chemical controls.
  6. Personnel - requirements for the training of staff and expectations on protective clothing and personnel hygiene.

Known for its versatility in food and non-food packaging, this global standard has been adopted by major retailers and packaging businesses around the world. Certification to the Standard verifies technical and functional performance, aids manufacturers’ fulfillment of legal obligations, and helps provide protection to the consumer.

All of the changes within the revised edition have been based on wide and extensive consultation with international stakeholders. Changes to the revised Standard include:

  • Preparation and planning section, providing guidance and support for sites new to the certification process
  • New requirements for managing print control
  • Additional safeguards to reduce the risk of chemical migration from packaging into food products
  • Greater emphasis on managing the functional quality of packaging materials to meet customers specifications
  • Introduction of “Fundamental” clauses, relating to systems that are crucial to the establishment and operation of an effective packaging manufacturing operation
  • Introduction of a grading scheme based on number and severity of non-conformities
  • Audit frequencies and processes for corrective action review based on performance
  • Reduction to 2 product categories based on the hygiene risk associated with the final use of the packaging materials

To learn more about this Standard or inquiry about a GAP Assessment, contact us at: or request a quote clicking here.

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Food Safety - BRC

Food Safety - Additional Courses