BRC agents & brokers food safety system certification


Food safety in an international context has for decades been a primary focus for globally active organisations such as the United Nations and related institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO), national governments, NGOs, interest groups and the food industry. This focus has traditionally been driven by the importance for public health, and the impact of food safety on international trade.

Under the direction of the WHO, the HACCP criteria (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) were developed as an operational foundation for food safety and hygiene. HACCP has since become a globally applied, structured method to eliminate, prevent or reduce all relevant risks in food to an acceptable level, and forms the basis for almost every certification standard pertaining to food safety.


In 1996, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), a partnership of English retailers, was formed with the aim of achieving national and international harmonisation of food safety through standards and testing in the food chain.

This initiative led to the introduction of the BRC Food Safety Standard in 1998, followed by derived standards such as BRC Packaging & Packaging Materials, BRC Consumer Products, BRC Storage & Distribution, and BRC Agents & Brokers.

The original BRC Agents & Brokers standard has been subject to various modifications and upgrades since the introduction of the first version in 2014. The current version 2 was introduced in 2018.


The BRC Agents & Brokers standard has a specific character in the sense that it applies to organizations that focus on trade, including import and export, of food, packaging and consumer products, but do not directly produce and/or supply products to the end user. The companies concerned can also outsource activities such as storage, distribution, production, inspection and packaging of products.


BRC Storage & Distribution comprises 5 key components related to the following topics: organisational structure and continuous improvement, hazard and risk analysis, product safety and quality management system, supplier management and outsourced services and personnel aspects (training and competence).


The certification process of the BRC Agents & Brokers standard follows a pattern that differs to some extent from generic management system standards (e.g. ISO 22000).

BRC uses a fixed cycle of 1 year without interim investigations or surveillance audits. The (first) cycle starts with an initial or certification audit, which is followed by a recertification audit after 1 year as the start of a new, one-year certification cycle. In the event of serious deviations detected during the initial or recertification audit, the cycle – and therefore the validity of the certificate – is reduced to six months.

Would you like to receive more detailed information about this certification in practice? Take a look at our brochure Het Certificatieproces (The Certification Process). You can download it from our website.


The BRC Agents & Brokers standard can be applied as a stand-alone certification standard, but combinations with general management system standards – such as ISO 9001 (quality) – or theme-specific standards such as ISO 22000 or FSSC 22000 are also possible.

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