September 18, 2019
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) for food safety is a certification program in the food and manufacturing industries that meets Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards. One of the main tenets of BRC is the development of a food safety culture. At Batory, that culture incorporates a commitment that starts at the executive leadership level and continues through the organization and ends with the facility employees. Everyone at each level of Batory Foods is responsible for ensuring that ingredients we supply to our customers are, first and foremost, safe.
Batory-owned facilities, both manufacturing and distribution warehouses, are currently BRC-certified, with one exception: our new Commerce, CA facility which will receive BRC certification in 2020.
All facility employees receive Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) training at time of hire, annually, and additionally as needed. Each facility has its own Food Defense team. These teams are cross-functional with Operations and Quality departments, at a minimum. The facility manager typically serves as the team coordinator. The recall process is coordinated and overseen by the Director of Quality Assurance & Food Safety. An important element of the BRC program is traceability. Having these teams and processes in place ensures we can act quickly in the event of a recall or foodborne illness outbreak and account for all contaminated material in a matter of minutes.
The BRC guidelines are based on a proactive rather than reactive plan in regards to food safety. This concept can be applied to the consumer sector by setting good habits and always following them when it comes to food safety at home. Some examples would be: keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot; cooking food thoroughly; keeping raw meat separate from cooked meat; thoroughly cleaning surfaces and utensils that contained raw meat; and this might be a tough one for some, but avoid “licking the bowl” of raw cake batter. These are just some of the simple things everyone can practice at home to keep our food safe and our families healthy.
Contributed by Ravi Somanahally, Director of Quality Assurance at Batory Foods