A research paper has been published that explores the interplay between regulations and standards, and the value that third-party certification provides as means to ensure that food is safe for consumers. It draws on data from the results of audits of industrial food businesses by the regulator, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), against the requirements of National and EU laws. The monitoring of results records whether the business is certified to one of the recognised Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) third-party certification programmes, such as BRCGS.
The data covers a significant sample size over a 5 year period (2015-2020) and 15,000 inspection audits of industrial food production companies, with approximately 900 of these companies certificated to the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety.
- The paper concludes that businesses operating to 3rd party management systems perform better than non-certificated sites.
- Businesses with BRCGS certification in place performed well and reported fewer non-compliances with the regulation than both non-certified organisations, as well as those operating on other certification programmes.
Offering insight into why sites with BRCGS certification perform better than other certificated sites, the author suggests that this may be attributed to the requirements, management and operational delivery of the BRCGS’s certification programmes. Firstly, the requirements of the standards extend beyond those set by GFSI. They are rigorous and use prescriptive language which provide a clear framework for global application. Secondly, BRCGS’s investment into its five layers of compliance that provide control over the operational delivery and promote consistent and reliable outcomes. This includes delivery partner performance management, management of auditor competence based on exams and training, analytics to benchmark performance, and a confidential reporting system to register issues.
The Regulator concludes that working with certification programme owners such as BRCGS leads to better outcomes and consumer protection. BRCGS will continue to work with regulators around the world to support their policy objectives and with brands to deliver results that they can rely on from their supply chain assurance.