The Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standard or BRCGS, is a set of requirements which are GFSI (Global Food Safety Institute) benchmarked for food safety, consumer products, packaging materials, storage and distribution, and more. They set a standard for companies to bring their product(s) to market on a global scale while assuring consistent product safety, quality, hazard and operation control, integrity, and legality, all while having standard versatility for manufacturers, distributors, or supply chain contributors alike. This article will discuss key items to prepare for while working your way to becoming BRCGS certified and the costs associated with this goal.
To get started on your journey to becoming a BRCGS-certified establishment, proper management systems must be put into place. Focusing on the food safety edition of the BRCGS standards, an establishment must have a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) based food safety program in place, including a prerequisite program. Prerequisite programs are required as part of the HACCP program and have procedures in place for premises, transportation and storage, preventative maintenance and calibration, personnel and training, sanitation and pest control, traceability and consumer complaints, allergen control, and foreign material management. It is also important to note that your food safety plan has senior management commitment and buy-in for all principles of the standard.
A: Purchasing the Standard and Guidance
The first step is to acquire a copy of the BRCGS standard. You can purchase the standard and associated guidelines through the BRCGS website here. Costing varies depending on if you want to purchase the associated guidance documents, but can range between £140.00 to £455.00. Standards and guidelines are priced in Pound Sterling (GBP). You can also download a free-locked version of the BRCGS Food standard through the same link.
Competency is a key consideration as part of the BRCGS standard. There are key training requirements for being a team leader, internal auditor, and other roles. The team leader should have an in-depth knowledge of Codex HACCP principles or have the appropriate support in place externally. While HACCP training courses range in cost, a full 2-day in-person course can cost as much as $2500 CAD. Other training options include online training courses, including our HACCP online training program which we offer for a fraction of that price. Additionally, a team leader could also consider being trained as an Internal Auditor, which is a separate 2-day course costing as much as $1500 CAD.
C: Building Maintenance and Program Implementation
This is arguably the most extensive and expensive part of preparing for your BRCGS certification. Your building as well as the implementation of program standards have to meet requirements which sometimes pose a cost. Some things to consider while accessing your facility would be the flow of product, segregation of post-processing risk zones or handling areas, access points (human and materials entry), building integrity (i.e. gaps underneath doors, cracked windows, covers on lights or use of shatterproof bulbs, storage separation, and capability, etc.) and equipment maintenance, cleaning and repairs/changes. There are, however, many less obvious items that sometimes get overlooked, that are still considered part of your program and therefore still need to be compliant. Examples of some of these would include the types of pens you use, tracking and managing knives, or even the use of paper clips and staples in production.
Sometimes the BRCGS team leader may need assistance with the interpretation and development of the BRCGS program. At this stage, companies can elect to bring in a third-party consultant. Costs can vary depending on the consultant’s level of experience. Most consultant’s hourly rates can range anywhere between $200-$350 CAD with the final costs varying based on project scope, how elaborate your process is, and how much you can accomplish in-house versus with consultant support.
It is recommended to perform a gap assessment prior to hiring an authorized BRCGS certification body to formally audit your program. A qualified third-party consultant such as dicentra can provide this service. A gap assessment will identify all gaps between the program you have in place compared to the standards set out by BRCGS. The benefits of performing a gap assessment would be to identify and correct any potential corrective actions prior to your certification audit, that would otherwise lower your audit grade. It can also be used as a readiness assessment, to gauge how prepared the facility is for a certification audit.
After all processes are in place and you have been operating to BRCGS standards for some time (approximately 3 months at minimum), you will need to contact a certification body to perform your audit. When selecting a certification body, consider reaching out to dicentra. Our outstanding BRCGS auditor network collaborates closely with each client to schedule audits that accommodate their individual schedules. Some general cost ranges for a few common types of BRCGS audits are listed in the table below. This cost includes the on-site audit, report writing, technical review, corrective action plan, certification decision, and associated administration fees as part of the process. It does not include the expenses of the auditor, but in most cases, your Certification Body will give you an estimate of your auditor’s expenses and will attempt to provide you with an auditor within the appropriate categories, who is closest to your facility.
|Average Cost Range (CAD)
|Number of Audit Days
|BRC Storage & Distribution
|$6,200 – $6,800
|$7,500 – $8,500
|BRC Start – Basic
|$5,300 – $5,600
|BRC Start – Intermediate
|$5,300 – $6,000
The cost of the initial certification audit varies depending on your facility. BRCGS Certification requires annual recertification to maintain compliance.
Choose dicentra for audits tailored to your schedule, not the schedule of the CB. Our commitment to your certification doesn’t end with the final report, it lasts the full term of your certification, making us your partner 365 days of the year. Contact us for a quote and experience the dicentra difference in prioritizing your success.