BRC Storage & Distribution Issue 4: What Do I Need To Know?

warehouse machine

As announced last year, BRCGS are introducing a new issue of the BRC Storage and Distribution standard. The new standard will come into effect as of the 1st May this year. The changes are intended to better align Storage and Distribution with the Food standard. Moreover, this includes a number of new concepts such as the development of Food Safety Culture being introduced.

Firstly, the step up from issue 3 to BRC Storage and Distribution Issue 4 looks to be much greater than seen in previous version changes. Above all, sites will need to ensure they allow for plenty of time to review, understand and implement the necessary changes in order to meet with the new requirements and maintain grade levels.

We’ve been working hard to make sure our clients continue to achieve great results by being Issue 4 ready. You can get in touch with our team if you’re looking for support with getting your own systems updated.

What are the key changes to BRCGS Storage & Distribution?

Food Safety Culture

Introduced into version 8 of the food safety standard, Food safety culture is seen as vital to maintaining high product safety and quality management standards.  The new version of S&D will require sites to implement an effective plan to develop and maintain good food safety culture throughout its operation.  These new clauses will require a number of new tasks to be completed by sites, including creation of the culture plan and setup of confidential reporting systems for staff to raise concerns about product safety.

BRC Unannounced Audits

With BRCGS standards being GFSI benchmarked, the requirement for unannounced audits is being introduced with Issue 4. Sites will now be required to have 1 in every 3 audits as unannounced. This will require sites to look closely at their key staff absence cover systems to ensure they are prepared.

Although there is a change to unannounced audits, they will not commence until after the first Issue 4 audit. Certification bodies will inform sites within 3 months of their announced audit as to whether their next audit will be unannounced.  The unannounced audit will take place within 4 months of your re-audit due date.

New Section – Handling of Open Food Products

This new section introduces a number of requirements to control the potential of pathogenic contamination of open foods. The standard already allows for limited handling of open foods, however, the new clauses focus on the hygiene controls and standard within open product areas. Furthermore, this includes the need for a site map identifying the areas where open food products are handled.

warehouse storage to illustrate brc storage and distribution standard

The Finer Details of the New Issue

To coin a phrase, the devil is in the detail with this new version. Alongside the big changes, there are a number of subtle changes that should be reflected in your FSQM. To avoid an increase of non-conformities during your audit, it is important to understand the new changes.

Our team have been working hard on updating our clients systems and getting them ready for the 1st May.  With this in mind, if you’re looking for assistance with getting ready for Issue 4, whether it be a Gap analysis or system update, get in touch and our team will be happy to assist.

CFS have been working hard to update our clients systems, getting them ready for the 1st May. If you’re looking for assistance with preparing for BRC Storage and Distribution Issue 4, please get in touch. We offer a variety of services including system updates and gap analysis. To find out more you can contact us on the following:

P: 0845 026 7745 E:

Find out more about BRCGS Standards here.