What the BRC Certified “AA” Rating Means
Martech earned its BRC certification in 2016 with an “AA” rating – its sixth rating of A or higher in a row – from independent food-safety auditor AIB International. This was no 15-minute or hour-long inspection; this was a three-day audit that took into account every stage in the manufacture of Martech’s food-grade products.
Once Martech’s engineers, scientists and crew members allowed themselves to be placed under the proverbial microscope, an AIB auditor required documented proof that they complied with the most up-to-date food manufacturing regulations. BRC’s Global Standards for Food Safety, which comprise 132 pages, contain the following seven top requirements:
- Commitment from senior management, which includes periodic reviews and internal audits on the effectiveness of current programs
- A food safety plan encompassing a hazard analysis of the critical control point (a sort of “last line of defense”), which “must be monitored to prevent any dangerous component of product from reaching the marketplace” – products and production processes must be assessed for risk
- A food-safety/food-quality management system, which encompasses 16 prerequisite programs (some examples include supply-chain traceability, managing incidents of product withdrawal and/or recall, documentation control, customer focus and communication)
- Site standards, which ensures that, among other considerations, the building’s “layout, utilities and security, and the surrounding area are safe for food production”
- Product control, which covers everything from initial design and development to the product’s release into the market
- Process control, which ensures that all manufacturing aspects “have been verified and are operating correctly” (this includes labeling, quantity control, instrument calibration, etc.)
- Personnel requirements to ensure employees are healthy, properly trained and wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) for safe manufacturing
At any time during the audit, an inspector might ask for records concerning any factor of the food-grade production process.
At the end of his three-day visit, the AIB auditor left the plant’s management team with a report detailing the issues that needed improvement. The Martech collective then submitted an amended report, which addressed the discrepancies, to a final panel review, after which a grade was given – in Martech’s case, its “AA”—the sixth grade A or higher rating in as many consecutive years.
In the end the Martech staff’s diligence and resulting grade allows Martech Research to put its quality practices up for comparison against those of any food-grade manufacturer in the world.