BRCGS Provides New Suite of Audit Products
In recent months, the BRCGS has responded to the challenges of the pandemic by launching a number of initiatives that are either temporary solutions or permanent new options for certification. In order to clarify the options available and their applications, the BRCGS has published several guidance documents which contain further details.
In addition to the documents, the BRCGS has created an infographic showing all audit options in detail. The infographic provides support by finding the right option for certification, based on the certification status of the respective site and the possible restrictions that apply due to the pandemic.
The BRCGS clarifies that full on-site audit options for announced and unannounced audit programs will continue to be available unless there are restrictions that would limit the audit. If an audit cannot take place due to the restrictions, the following options are available: blended audits, certificate extension, full remote assessment and the Covid-19 additional module.
Blended audits consist of two parts: an online remote assessment of some or all documents, followed by a shorter on-site audit. This combination makes it possible to carry out a complete audit, but the time on site is shorter than for a regular audit.
In many production facilities, it is not possible to conduct an audit on site due to the restrictions. Sites whose audit is due may apply for an extension of their certificate. Certificates can be extended for up to 6 months. To grant an extension of the certificate, a risk assessment and a review of the controls in place at the site must be carried out.
In cases where the certificate extension has expired and it is still not possible for an audit to take place on-site, a full remote assessment could be an option. However, this option is not GFSI benchmarked. Internal audit results, remote documents and a video audit of the production and/or storage facilities are part of the remote audit. A successfully completed remote audit can grant certification for 6 or 12 months.
The Covid-19 additional module is available for any food manufacturer and can be completed remotely at any time to verify Covid-19 preparedness at the site. It provides assurance around the management of Covid-19 risks and focuses on areas of the food safety system being potentially at greater risk as a result of the changes enforced to address the pandemic.
You will find more details on the different audit options as well as the guidance documents to download on the website of the BRCGS.