Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and there’s still New Year’s to go.
I have had a fairly low key Christmas: cooked a huge joint of beef on Christmas Eve which we have been munching cold ever since, with pickles and left over stuffings and bread sauce and in luscious sandwiches made with bread from a new bread maker – what a brilliant invention!
I awoke this morning to the aroma of cooking bread – yes, I have mastered the timer! Goose on Christmas Day that was as tough as old boots, that’s the last time we are doing that. We will be on to the soup soon. Due to the distinct lack of chocolates this year, it has been a fairly abstemious Christmas and now I am so twitchy, I have started writing a new quality manual based on Issue 6 of the BRC.
Fun, it is not. There are still 7 sections; they say that the number of clauses have been reduced to avoid repetition, but I am not sure I believe that. If I see another reference to ‘Risk Assessment’, I shall probably hurl the standard in the fire, except it cost £98 including postage, so I probably won’t.
The section on allergens has been substantially beefed up and there is yet again more on HACCP. The bit (4.13.8) about having a ‘biologist’ to visit in connection with pest control, every quarter is just plain ridiculous for people of our size and operations.
The BRC does not take into account the size of the business. Whether you are small, like us or huge, you still have to address every single section, clause and sub clause. Some consideration is taken into account differentiating low risk and high risk food areas which is good, so for example, you are allowed to self launder as we do, i.e. wash your own whites in enclosed product or low risk areas. As we make only hard cheese, this is considered a low risk activity but even this does not exempt you from any part of the standard.
On first sweep, I would say that we do 99% of the requirements but the new bits are kind of sneaked in and you have to read the entire standard to make sure that you can show that you do do the things it prescribes. What a nightmare!
The new BRC Issue 6