BRCGS Air quality standards for food producers

BRCGS Air quality standards for food producers

创建日期 2022年6月17日

The Transcript

For your convenience, here is a 90% accurate automated transcript of the podcast.

Ross Dumigan  0:05  
When we were writing to standard at the time, we didn't want to just focus on air quantity as important as that is to the food and beverage manufacturing. In itself. We also wanted to encompass the sustainability elements.

Dusty Rhodes  0:18  
Hello there and welcome to Let's talk clean air our regular look at how clean air can affect the quality process for you and the workplace. On this episode, we're talking about standards for indoor air quality, what they are, and in particular, how they impact food and beverage producers. My name is Dusty Rhodes and joining me to explain more about this today is Evan Efe-Kabagoz from brcgs. The company was founded about 25 years ago by retailers who wanted to harmonize food safety standards across the supply chain. Today, they are globally recognized across both food and non food categories and operate the most rigorous third party certification scheme of its type from Camfil. We have Ross dumigan, who is their food and beverage segment manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa with a very long and successful history in the molecular filtration industry. Evren, can I start off with you? Can you tell me just a little bit about the company brcgs.

Evren Efe-Kabagoz  1:15  
About just if you've stated a couple of seconds ago, actually the company was founded in 1996 by the retailer in the UK. Because during that time, there were many second party audits being performed by the retailers by the brands and the retailers wanted to create a single standard to be used for the audit. And in 2016, the BRC became a part of the lgc group and the brand name changed from BRC to brcgs. And although we are very popular for our food standard at the moment, we also have lots of non Food Standards. At the moment, we have around 30,000 certificates sites in more than 130 countries. And we also have a network of more than 90 accredited and brcgs recognized certification bodies in the world. And although we are known as a standard owner, we are also developing some digital products like the food safety culture excellence module or confidential reporting system which can be used by the sites as a part of their systems. And we also provide training to the certification bodies and the sites with our approved training providers in different countries. And we have also developed a brcgs professional program, which is a holistic learning development program for individuals which covers the skills to implement and maintain the standards in any site, you know, in any brcgs or GFIi certificated site in the industry.

Dusty Rhodes  2:54  
So it's a very big operation and it allows a consistency of measurement across a very large industry worldwide. Is that a good summation? Okay, tell me then about the brcgs standards themselves. Why are they important to the food and beverage producers in particular?

Evren Efe-Kabagoz  3:15  
Well, I think there are a couple of reasons for that. The first of all, the content of the food standard is quite comprehensive, and it aims to set the standard for the industry. So the product safety, legality, integrity and quality can be met by the producers. And it also ensures that some retailer supplier due diligence requirements are met. And the standard is actually internationally recognized by many brands and specifiers and buyer groups and it complies with the gfsi requirements. And the audits are accredited objective of a brcgs audit is actually providing a true reflection of the site, how it operates and the level of conformity according to the standard. So we have some confirmative recognized raised during the audit and at the end of the audit the number and severity level of non conformities set the grading of the audit results. So it means not all of the brcgs certificates are the same. And this is used by many specifiers to assess their suppliers. And also another feature of the standard is that all non conformities have to be actioned so the site gets a certificate. So these are the features that many retailers and brand owners worldwide prefer to use brcgs fulled certificate to ssdr suppliers and also certificates companies can be viewed on the brcgs directory. And this creates a kind of transparent communication between producers and their customers and the customers. The brands can get And some kind of reports by using this brcgs directory and the seabees certification bodies can also use it for getting reports about their own auditors or sites that are certificates by them. So this provides a kind of edit value for all sides.

Dusty Rhodes  5:18  
Now, when the facility is being audited by brcgs, how is the audit actually conducted?

Evren Efe-Kabagoz  5:26  
Yeah, I do. I've been I've been working for brcgs auditor for 15 years, I think. And for the last two years, almost, I have been performing brcgs compliance audit. So I'm a part of the compliance team. Yeah, so I am aware of the audit process.

Dusty Rhodes  5:45  
So when you arrive at a facility, how do you conduct your audit?

Evren Efe-Kabagoz  5:51  
Well, we actually start with the opening meeting. So this is kind of an introduction, that the site introduces themselves and the auditor introduces himself herself. So we tell the site about how we are going to perform the audit and all about the timings and the sampling process and some details are approved. At the beginning, the opening meeting and then be performed my site visit, both internal areas and external areas are visited by the auditor. And then we have a traceability exercise. And then we have some documentation and records check, we do some interviews with stuff working in the production floor, or it's different levels. And then we combine all the findings as auditor file combines all the findings. And then at the closing meeting, we are presenting the findings to the site. So they are aware of what has happened during the audit. And they are aware what the findings are. So they can take some actions, they can start working on the actions. And then this report and findings are sent to the reviewers to be reviewed, and then there's a process for certificate to be prepared. But after the audit.

Dusty Rhodes  7:19  
Now, I believe as part of your audit, you do include air quality. Is this something that other audit companies do? Or is it unique with brcgs?

Evren Efe-Kabagoz  7:32  
Well, actually, this is a part of all of the food safety standards, to be honest, but brcgs has very specific definitions of air quality. And it is divided into two that are some requirements regarding air to be in direct contact with product or packaging material. And also some requirements about air being used for ventilation purposes. And especially if the site has identified any high risk, high care or ambient high care areas, air can be a source of contamination. So there are some requirements about this. So we are checking what the site has done about the air being used in these areas. And if there's any kind of contamination risk, if there's any filtration in process, or how the maintenance cleaning processes are being monitored, or if there's any positive air pressure necessary, and if the site is monitoring all this stuff. So this is a part of the audit. Yeah.

Dusty Rhodes  8:35  
Let me move to Ross, who is with camfil Ross before the brcgs what kind of air quality standards were available for food producers?

Ross Dumigan  8:47  
Well, before the BRC standard dose, the what we had was a collection of self regulation with practices within the food and beverage industry. So what was happening was when we were speaking to specific food manufacturers, you know, the big global affairs, and we were asking about their air quality assessments and how they how they basically went around selecting the type of filtration that's required required for their for other facilities. The common response that we were getting was that there would have been risk assessments carried out on site and parent accounts. However, when we delve into that a bit deeper, my colleague James record, and I spoke to a lot of companies around this back in 2018. And we were scrutinized a lot. Essentially wash wash. The net result of this was was there were selecting filters based on what the original equipment manufacturer supplied with pieces of equipment within the industry itself. And essentially, this was not the best practice for food and beverage applications. And commonly when we're looking at the products that were provided, they were the most commercially sensitive products that were being provided by the OEM at the time. And this proved not to be the best product that was for the process in itself in order to provide the best protection for the the process or the product or the customer. So from there, we spoke to john Figgins, who is proud to be your CEO and who we collaborated with in the design of this document in itself. And we took the approach of of this and improving standards in general, for the air quality within brcgs certified sites, and also standardizing IQ guidelines for the for the industry in itself. So that was that that move in itself for the consideration that the ERC gave at the beginning of this was a huge step forward for the food and beverage industry.

Dusty Rhodes  10:52  
And what do the brcgs standards say about air quality?

Ross Dumigan  10:57  
Well, essentially, there is factored into the standard itself that you can now select the BRC air quality standards basing it on E n 60 798. And what that means is that once you establish an outdoor air classification for you the location of your facility, and these are broken out into three different groups, so to where classification 102 air classification to an automatic classification three. And again, these are based on these are based on a Pm 2.5 and P and 10, parasites particles, basing it on who guidelines. And once you've established the outwear classification, you then can select the type of filtration that you need for your specific facility. So when we're speaking about food and beverage facilities, and you've got a clear guidance on what you need now, as I said, For outerwear classifications Madea 123 that's already said, when you can identify those, both for indoor air quality, they're divided into five different groups. So from supplier one to supplier five, and the beauty of it 678. At the time, it specifically mentions and it was probably one of the first standards to mention food and beverage manufacturing applications saw there was a direct reference point there of what needed to be done and how filters could be hopefully just can be selected quite easily basing it on the location of a facility. So what I was saying is for a supplier to for a food and beverage facility, you should be using an EPM 150 percent filter, although 80% depending on the classification. But also within the standard that we've that we worked with PRC know, we've also based it on zoning, and everything referred to zonings within the food and beverage applications of food and beverage processing sites of being a high care high risk, medium care and medium care, low risk areas. That's that's within the document though as well. So it means that there's a standardized approach in terms of selecting your air filtration quantity for food and beverage applications. So it means the standardization can be done if the if the guidance and standards is referenced correctly.

Dusty Rhodes  13:00  
is the standard only about air filter selection? Or are there other elements included? No, there

Ross Dumigan  13:06  
are other elements included within the standard that we do when we were writing the standard at the time, we didn't want to just focus on air quality as important as that is to the food and beverage manufacturing. In itself. We also wanted to encompass the sustainability elements that come hand in hand with the air quality factors in play food and beverage facility. So we use 67 eight is a you know referencing the energy performances of buildings for production facilities within the standard as well we reference ISO 16 890. And this is a standard our general air filters have to comply with and hasn't been has been in place since 2016. There is also there's also European 423 s standard within this. And this is just basically for the the standard that European standard classification for energy consumption for air filters, as well. We go we we did go a step further within the standard when we talked about the maintenance and condition monitoring and hygiene monitoring within the standard. So what essentially that means is that we're talking about the routine monitoring of the of the regime around the around the air of air filtration and air quality and air and the levels of air quality within the system. And we referenced as well habitats thing, more or famine condition monitoring, carrying auto ventilation hygiene risk assessments for the air handling units. And probably one of the most important and simplest things that can be checked is looking at the pressure gauges on the air handling units to see how they're how the filters are working within the air handling units. And looking at the general condition of the coil and under claim this is highly important that's all referenced within the standard shoe.

Dusty Rhodes  14:51  
I'm just thinking about food and beverage producers in particular, why should food and beverage producers be audited using the brcgs standards and guidelines

Ross Dumigan  15:01  
Well, essentially, we're talking about quantity, I mean, the air is coming, the air that we're filtering coming into acidity is coming into direct contact with the food we're consuming. And that actually has a direct knock on effect of the food we're consuming and be a product shelf life or contamination, resetted or your quantity. I mean, if you're, if you're providing poor air quality to a to a product, then obviously the end result is going to be a poor quality product, in our opinion. And what we've seen in the experience that we've seen in the past is where we've provided an increase in improvements and an increase in air quality for food manufacturing, or in food manufacturing facilities, excuse me, we have seen a dramatic increase in product shelf life as well. And that's a huge factor. And it's a huge interest to food manufacturing companies to look at to look at this as a positive knock on effect of improving air quality.

Dusty Rhodes  15:51  
Evan, if I can come back to you? Are there other standards in general that food producers should be aware of if they're not signed up for the brgcs? program?

Evren Efe-Kabagoz  16:02  
Well, yeah, and actually, apart from the standards itself, brcgs is preparing many different guidelines for the industry. And these guidelines can be about the standard itself on how to interpret it, or it can be in about specific subjects in regarding the food industry like how to manage food safety during COVID-19. For example, this was prepared under COVID just started and understanding high risk, high care, ambient high care, or understanding air quality requirements, and air pewter specifications in food industry, which was developed by camfil. Or I don't know how to use metal detector, how to perform a recall all these kinds of subjects that are actually important for food producers, and these guidelines are not auditable. But the objective of preparing these guidelines is technically supporting the science and the auditors and a pro training provider. So everybody has a clearer and better understanding of the standard closers and what the expectations are, and how to implement all these clovers. And it is possible to reach these guidelines through brcgs participate, which is a complimentary part of the service package saw the brcgs certificates size can access it for free. But if the sites are not brcgs certificated, they can also purchase these guidelines from the brcgs bookshop.

Dusty Rhodes  17:39  
Excellent. And there is a link to that in the show notes that you just mentioned. COVID-19. Evan there. I'm just wondering, have you noticed an increased demand for audits? Well,

Evren Efe-Kabagoz  17:51  
he changed a lot during the COVID-19. You know, it has been almost two years since it started. So at the very beginning, of course, there have been so many cancellations, and we had to postpone many audits, because there were trebles striction structions. And the limitations changed from country to country. So brcgs allowed the certification bodies to perform a risk assessment of the sides and to an extent, certification for six months. And then as we were expecting the COVID to end soon, and it didn't, so we had to find different solutions. So diverse different audit options available and developed by the brcgs, we had the blended audit option, which was a kind of combination of on site audit and off site audit saw the auditor had to visit the site to see the GMP to see the implementations in the site in the shop floor. And but they could review of the documentation and records by sitting at home. So this also reduce the risk of traveling for the auditor and for the sites as auditors are going from one place to another. And there is also a remote audit option which the auditor can just sit at home or in the office and perform the audit full remote. And this has, and then these options developed the numbers a little bit so at the beginning, the numbers increased dramatically. But now, I can't say we are back to normal. And the number of audits is kind of increasing. Okay,

Dusty Rhodes  19:39  
however, it isn't ever an ephah Kappa goes from brcgs thank you so much for your time today. And also thanks to Rob dumigan from camfil food and beverage segment. That is it for our show for today. If you'd like to find out more about all of the stuff we've been talking about, just follow the links in the show notes. You'll find them in the description of this podcast. on your phone, or whichever device you're listening to us on. They include links and contact details and everything else that you might need to get more information. Our podcast today was produced by camfil, a world leader in the development and production of air filters and clean air solutions. To stay up to date on how clean air can affect the quality process for you and at the workplace. do click follow or subscribe so you get our next show automatically. Until then, for myself to students, thank you so much for listening and take care