BRC :  Global Standard for packaging & Packaging Material (IOP) – Issue 4

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About BRC-IOP Issue - 4

The BRC/IOP Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials - Issue 4

The new, updated Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials: Issue 4 was published in February 2011 with audits commencing against Issue 4 from 1st August 2011. The Standard has been revised to provide greater focus on quality and functional aspects of packaging which complement the established requirements of factory hygiene.

Maintaining its versatility in food and non-food packaging, the publication will ensure the scheme continues to be a leading global standard 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 allow time for retailers, producers, and certification bodies to become fully familiar with the new requirements and for the BRC to develop their support and infrastructure, the BRC recognizes audits against Issue 4.

It is a requirement that all suppliers undergoing a BRC Packaging and Packaging Materials audit have an official, authorized copy of this Standard.

BRC IOP services include BRC IOP Food Packaging and Packaging Materials Certification. This helps ensure your compliance with the technical standard set by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Packaging Society - formerly the Institute of Packaging (IOP). Food packaging materials certification through gives you a competitive edge by demonstrating your competence regarding food quality, hygiene and product safety.

Every organization involved in food packaging materials - including packaging manufacturers, retailers and packer/fillers - has a legal obligation to comply with the BRC IOP food packaging standard. Our global network allows us to offer certification to the BRC/IOP standard wherever you (or your suppliers) are, and at whatever stage of the international food supply chain. We use auditors who speak the local language and understand local culture, helping you ensure that good safety management practices are followed.

Scope & Application of BRC-IOP Issue - 4

Compliance to the Standard will establish conformity with management procedures and factory standards used by manufactures of packaging and packaging materials.

The Standard applies to the manufacture of packaging and packaging materials used in food packaging and filling operations and to packaging and packaging materials for cosmetics, toiletries and other consumer products and materials. It is also intended to apply to:

  • Prior operations, e.g. production of packaging materials for conversion or printing
  • Operations that are supplying packaging materials from stock where additional product processing or repacking occurs; this has been demonstrated to require the same level of control as a final/integrated converting operation
  • Packaging manufactures who also produce consumer-disposable goods that come into contact with food; for example, paper plates and disposable plastic drinking cups, aluminum foil, food-grade parchment paper, cling film and disposable cutlery. There products may also be audited under the BRC's Global Standard for Consumer Products where the primary operation of the factory is the production of consumer products and not packaging manufacture
  • The manufacture and supply of other materials that are unconverted or semi-converted and used or incorporated, e.g. coatings and adhesives, where this is based on a risk analysis and mutually agreed between those involve.

Companies that meet the requirements of a Satisfactory quality management system - for example, one conforming to that specified in ISO 9001 : 2008 - may already meet many of the requirements of the Standard, It is in the interest of the company to bring points to the attention of the certification body. The auditor will verify that the procedures are adequate for the purpose of compliance with this Standard.

The Standard 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 customer's quality requirements.

The standard is applicable to manufacturers producing packaging materials for food and consumer products. 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.

Features of BRC-IOP Issue - 4

A business must have a full understanding of the processes and products manufactured and have systems in place to ensure that products are produced within a hygienic environment and consistently meet the quality and products safety expectations of their customers. The Standard is based on the following key components: senior management commitment; risk assessment of the product and manufacturing process; and a systematic approach to managing products quality and safety.

General Requirements

Fundamental requirements

In line with the other BRC Global Standards, the concept of fundamental requirements has been introduced to the Standard to identity particular systems or operations within it that need to be in place at the time of the audit. The fundamental requirements are

  • Senior management commitment
  • Hazard and risk analysis
  • Internal audits
  • Specifications
  • Traceability
  • Housekeeping and cleaning
  • Process control
  • Training and competence
  • Failure to comply with the statement of intent of a fundamental clause leads to non-certification. This will require a further full audit to demonstrate evidence of compliance.

Documentation & Other Requirements

The Global Standard for Food Safety requires the development of and compliance with the following:

  • Senior management commitment
  • A HACCP plan
  • A quality management system
  • Pre-requisite programs

There are a number of benefits arising from the adoption, of the Standard, These include:

  • Providing a single audit report that is recognized by many customers in place of their own audits' saving time and cost
  • Operating under an accreditation framework that ensures the results of certification have international credibility and recognition
  • A comprehensive scope, covering areas of quality, hygiene and product safety, that meets most customer requirements when assessing and approving suppliers
  • Providing a framework for the development of quality and hygiene management systems in companies that encourages continuous improvement, reduction in waste and increased efficiency
  • Addressing part of the legislative requirements of the packaging manufacturer/supplier, packer/filler and retailer, Packaging manufacturers may also use this Standard to ensure their suppliers are following good manufacturing practices and are fulfilling legal requirements
  • Certificated sites making use of the marketing opportunities provided, through recognition on the public BRC Global Standards Directory website and use of the BRC logo.


Packaging & Packaging Material

BRC IOP - Issue 4