The British Retail Consortium ((BRC) and the Institute of Packaging have published a new, updated version of their important joint standard governing hygiene, product safety and due diligence in the supply of food packaging to the retail market.

Their new Global Standard for Food Packaging and Other Packaging Materials replaces the BRC/IOP Technical Standard and Protocol for Companies Manufacturing and Supplying Food Packaging for Retailer Branded Products. Introduced in 2001, this has become a key quality benchmark for supermarkets, many of whom now insist packaging suppliers are certificated. As its name suggests, the latest Standard also covers non-food products for the first time. Other key changes include more concise interpretations of requirements, changes to reflect new legislation and best practice and inclusion of an extensive protocol section. The revisions are based on six months’ consultation between the BRC, the IOP, packaging suppliers, food manufacturers and third party certification bodies.

BRC director Kevin Hawkins, says: ” This second issue of the BRC/IOP Standard underlines its success since its introduction three years ago. The engagement of stakeholders from both the food and packaging manufacturers means best practice is established, achieved and maintained.”

Kevin Swaffer, BRC head of technical services, adds: “The latest Standard has been published following discussions with some 70 organisations across the packaging chain. Some packaging companies are worried we have rushed headlong into extending it to cover non-food goods, but much of the pressure has come from suppliers themselves keen to demonstrate that the high standards to which they operate in producing and packing foods are mirrored with non-food items. The new Standard stipulates that non-food goods are covered “where required”, putting the onus on retailers to specify their requirements from each supplier.

“It was clear, anyway, that the existing Standard was being used to cover non-food goods, so including these officially made good sense.”

The Standard is available from The Stationery Office, priced at £90 plus £3.75, p&p (ISBN 0 11 702222 5). T: 0870 243 0123.

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