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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Real Food Safety Solutions – The Emerging Wave of Change


The food industry may be waking up to an emerging wave of change. The call for this change has long been made as part of the GCSE-Food and Health Protection campaign. If you have not been following the posts, take a look at this 2013 post about the coming shiftSome of the things predicted are already happening.

In announcing the acquisition of BRC Global Standards by LGC, Mark Proctor, BRC Chief Executive Officer stated as follows:
“I wanted to personally let you know that BRC Global Standards is in the midst of an exciting strategic transition from being a Standards owner to a brand and consumer protection organisation with a range of products and services to help its customers deal with the challenges of producing safe, high quality products for the end consumer on a global basis.” - https://brcglobalstandards.com/media/35266/brctpr053-lgc-acquires-brc-global-standards.pdf
It is about time. Perhaps now BRC, under the LGC ownership, would just admit the certification hoax and get out of that business altogether. The same hope is held for other parties that are still blindly captivated by the superficial certification idea.

For a few years now I have been calling on the industry (particularly the third-party certification sector) to stop the “certification” hoax. In its place, I have suggested the provision of real solutions to food businesses. I wonder if LGC and BRC have been listening and this has led them to this announcement of a strategic transition from being a Standards owner to a brand and consumer protection organisation”.

The desire to move away from superficial certification of food safety and quality management systems appears to be growing. Evidence of this desire can be seen in the reported new regulatory direction proposed by the EU and UK-FSA, the SQFI data reporting attempt (although it is a failed attempt) at reporting on the effectiveness of the SQF program, and now this announcement about BRC transition under LGC ownership.
These pronouncements and attempts are encouraging but the war is not won. The recognition is spreading but the transition is slow and appears to be momentarily stuck in the mud. Amidst loud superficial claims of success that mask the reality-check of whether food has actually become safer, the certification enclave is continuing to enslave many players unnecessarily. Many have failed to realize this fact: A business that cannot do without certification does not have the wherewithal to be certifiable.

The GCSE-FHP campaign against superficiality, misdirected focus, wasted resources and failing efforts at ensuring the safety of food must continue. To beat the plague of superficiality and wasted efforts, the adoption of the SSQA concept will continue to be highly recommended. All parties involved in the assurance of food/consumer safety need to drop the “certification” idea and focus on SSQA-style FORTIFICATION.


Posted by Felix Amiri
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Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

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