Prepare for changes to food and drink packaging standards in 2019
The BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials is set to revise in 2019. Expected timelines suggest that Issue 6 of the Standard will be released in August 2019, after drafts have been reviewed by industry. The first audits to Issue 6 will commence in February 2020, according to statements made by BRC Global Standards Packaging Manager, Jo Griffiths at BSI's Future Food Conference in October 2018, and the BRC Delivery Partner's Conference in November of the same year.
This follows on from the revision to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, which has moved from Issue 7 to 8 in 2018, with training against the latest iteration of the Standard happening now, and the first audits to Issue 8 commencing in February 2019. Changes in the packaging Standard look to complement those made in the latest BRC Food Safety Standard, repeating the importance of a food safety culture (see whitepaper) and senior management commitment. As with BRC Food Safety Issue 8, the second unannounced audit option is to be removed in Issue 6 of the BRC packaging Standard, so the options for audit will be a simple announced or unannounced choice.
The update to Issue 6 looks to address issues including the management of raw materials and reducing the loss of pellets, with the intention to remove new plastic contamination from the food supply chain. The British Plastics Association has been involved in the drafting process of Issue 6 of the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials.
Packaging, (specifically FMCG and food and drink packaging utilising plastics) currently have a very high profile, with environmental debate at the forefront of consumer buying choices. Shoppers are demanding more responsibility for both food waste and excessive packaging use from big brands and retailers so Issue 6 of the packaging Standard is likely to attract more attention than previous revisions. Therefore those organizations that have achieved certification to a BRC packaging Standard may find themselves with a competitive advantage when it comes to tendering for packaging work in any FMCG company, especially in the food sector.
Despite not technically being a packaging standard just for the food sector, the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) benchmarking of the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials means that a lot of the intent of the clauses are centered around food sector application. Whether this is specificity is likely to help or hinder the growing uptake of the standard is to be seen in the coming months.