We work closely with a number of Regulatory Agencies around the world to share how BRCGS certification programmes can be used by Government and the regulatory environment to support regulation and desired policy outcomes. In some markets, certification programmes can provide earned recognition where regulatory bodies factor in certification as part of their inspection programmes. But where public health issues are important, as in food processing and distribution, regulations are common.
BRCGS has published a report that draws on data provided by the Nederlandse Voedsel-en Warenautoriteit (NVWA - The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) which covers the monitoring results of audits of Food Businesses (FBOs) for the 2015-2021 period. NVWA monitors animal and plant health, animal welfare, and the safety of food and consumer products, as well as enforcing agricultural legislation in the Netherlands. It is the competent authority responsible for the supervision and enforcement of regulations. The data, which is based on a population of approximately 14,000 food business operators, with 3,300 inspections taking place per year over a 7 year period, allows us to explore the interplay between regulations and certification, and whether third-party certification results in improved compliance, and therefore a means to ensure that food manufactured into the market in the Netherlands is safe for consumers.
A summary of the main findings is as follows:
- Data from the NVWA’s interventions under various aspects of the regulations indicates that food businesses with certification to third party food safety standards are substantially less likely to experience an intervention than those without.
- A greater percentage of food businesses without certification were subject to a major intervention than those with certification.
- This trend was consistent across the relevant laws namely Regulations (EC) 852/2014 and (EC) 853/2004 which relate to hygiene of foodstuffs and food of animal original and Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 which sets out the microbiological criteria for food.
- Food businesses operating to BRCGS certification performed well and reported fewer non-compliances with the regulation than both organisations without any certification, as well as an average of those operating on other certification programmes.
The findings of this report mirror those found in an independent study carried out in 2021 by the University of Birkbeck, which demonstrated the widespread effects and reach on multiple aspects of their business operations and performance for FBOs. As well as driving increased competitiveness via investment and modernisation, BRCGS certification enables increased competitiveness amongst food suppliers by providing incentives to investment in facilities and in human capital and though modernisation of the production organisation and operations. The study shows that BRCGS standards have similar positive impacts to ISO and other technical and management standards, in relation to enabling product and process innovation, and thus growth in output and productivity. However, BRCGS certification goes further than these by stimulating modernisation and investment – broad innovation.