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Are you using the BRC logo?  If you are – you need to read this!

So, I had a call from one of our lovely readers this week, who had been given probably the most harsh non-conformance I’ve come across.  She is going to challenge the NCN with her certification body, but I thought we should probably all learn from it…

BRC Logo, new clause – 1.1.13

A new clause was put into issue 8 regarding the BRC logo.  When you’re using the BRC logo you have to do so in accordance with the conditions of use – detailed by BRC.

What are the BRC logo conditions of use?

Well, that’s a really good question!  The clause in the standard states that the conditionds are detailed in the audit protocol section of the standard – Part III, section 5.6 (page 79). Unfortunately for us though, this only tells you that “Information and conditions relating to the use of the Global Standards logo is available at www.brcglobalstandards.com”.

The problem

There are a few problems here.

You may have noticed that the BRC website looks different.  This is because the BRC is no longer called the ‘British Retail Consortium’.

They have changed what BRC stands for – they are now called ‘Brand Reputation through Compliance’.

Press release from BRC

Why they’ve done this, I’m not completely sure (to be honest I’m not that interested, I presume it’s business related) but it does cause a few problems…

Like the fact that the website link that they’ve quoted in the standard (www.brcglobalstandards.como) is now wrong.  When you go to this, you get redirected to https://www.brcgs.com/

It also means their logo has changed, so any of you using it are now at risk.

What’s even more unfortunate is that neither the standard or the new website tells you how to find the new logo, if you want to use it.

The non-conformance

So, the site that I spoke to this week, got a non-conformance against 1.1.13 as they were using the old BRC logo.

The auditor looked up their website the night before the audit and saw that they had the old logo, so they were on one NCN before the audit had even started!

The auditor gave them a non-conformance saying that they needed a procedure to make sure that the logo conformed to the conditions set out by BRC.

The solution

To make sure you are not at risk from this non-conformance.  Here’s what you need to do.  Don’t go searching in the standard or on the website for the instructions, as you won’t find them.  (Apparently we need to mind read…)

  1.  Go to https://brcdirectory.co.uk/
  2. In the very top right hand corner, in pale grey text, if you look closely you’ll see ‘Request Logo’
  3. Click that and you’ll be taken to this form: http://logo.brcdirectory.com/
  4. Fill in the form and submit it.
  5. Once registered the BRC will send you the information you need to make sure you have the right logo.
  6. Write this into your senior management commitment procedure.

As I can’t fill in the form, I don’t know how long it will take BRC to respond and I don’t know what they will send you.  I imagine, that they won’t provide you with details of what to do if/when the logo changes in the future.  So, I would imagine, you’ll need to put into your procedure, that you’ll fill in this form every year (just before your audit I would suggest) – in order to get the most up to date information about the logo.

BRC logo

Update: 10/04/2019 12:24

Since publishing this article, BRC have updated the form (step 3 above) to state “Clause 1.1.13 of Food Safety issue 8 – a non-conformity will not be given against clause 1.1.13 if an auditor identifies use of an old version of the BRCGS logo.”

So, we’ve been listened to and at least you won’t get an NCN for this now!

I really hope that they also look into their communication channels and try to improve that too!

Update:  13/08/2019 BRC have now stated that sites have until February 2020 to use the right logo.  That’s not long if you have it on vehicles etc, so I’ve requested if this date still applies to these types of use.  I’ll let you know when I hear back!

It’s a shame

It would seem the easiest way of not getting a non-conformance for this, is to not use the logo. Which is a shame, as that’s not what BRC would want.  Your business using it, is essentially free marketing for them.

It’s frustrating that they make things like this so complicated.

Only today I’ve found a new position statement on their website, for BRC Packaging, which they have not communicated out – what’s the point of registering your email address, if they don’t email you with anything useful?

I hope BRC read this and do something about it…

Ok, rant over – sorry! If you’d like to have a rant, please do so in the reply box below – it may help them to listen to us!

Update: 23/07/2019

BRC have now published their brand guidelines for logos, which can be found on their brand guidelines page: https://www.brcgs.com/resources/brcgs-brand-guidelines/

Or you can read the guidelines directly here: Brand Guidelines June 2019

30 Comments

  • After following your instructions above, I immediately received an email with the message below.

    “Your request has been received and logged.
    Thank you for your email. Your logo application can take up to 48 hours to process. “

  • James Flynn says:

    This is very poor communication at its core by the ‘new’ BRC and is testament to the fact that the BRC standard was ‘quietly’ purchased by LGC, a large life sciences company with a commercial (rather than a food safety agenda).

    Admittedly, the BRC has always represented the interested of the retailer but at least it felt like it was an industry driven standard at that point.

    Watch for more commercial interests coming down the pipe from BRC as LGC lol to get a return in their investment. This could be very damaging for ‘brand’ BRC is they are not careful.

  • Deanne van der Meulen says:

    Hi Kassy,
    I was asked about this by our BRC auditor, but my company does not use the logo on anything – so no non-conformance, but they did suggest we reference the requirements for the Logo use in our procedures – just in case. My guess is that it might be something that has been communicated to BRC auditors to look out for.
    In relation to the use of BRC logos, what I read in the BRC standards is that Companies that achieve certification, and have no exclusions from their scope, are qualified to use the BRC food logo on site stationery and marketing materials. No reference to BRC Global Standards may be used on products or packaging.

  • Narongchai says:

    The clause is intended for BRC certification mark (for BRC GS Food is green) only, not the BRC GS logo. Any appeal made for that?

  • Lynn Patterson says:

    Kassy
    Thanks for sharing, I agree this is harsh. Sounds like the auditor was looking for NC rather than for compliance doesn’t it ? Will be interesting to hear how their appeal goes but suspect it won’t be upheld.

  • Adele says:

    Thanks Kassy – another real ‘hidden gem’ from you to help us all. If only BRC were so helpful!

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for giving us the heads up on this one. I’ll admit I breezed passed this point when I did my GAP analysis not thinking about our website. Just had a check and the old logo is there so I’ve filled in the form and I’ll update our procedures.
    This does seem like something that could be settled as an advisory outside of the audit as it has nothing to do with food safety. Perhaps, as you say, make use of the database of email addresses and phone numbers they have for us all?

  • Athanasia says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for the useful update.
    That means that apart from the logo, we should change BRC to BRCGS, whenever mentioned in our Quality Manual or other documentation?
    Regards,
    Athanasia

  • Bernie says:

    Hi Kassy,

    Thanks for sharing. I had been told this by an Auditor, who was very nice about it, and they didn’t mark it as a NC, they hinted that I could change the wording to the following below in green for Food. I deleted all references to the Logo from all correspondence, advised all staff to do so also, checked by getting them to respond to an email I sent and I’ve replaced it with the following wording:

    BRC Certified to Global Standard for Food Safety. Issue 7.
    (as we are certified to BRC Food Safety Issue 7)
    I’ll change that to issue 8 (hopefully at the end of the year after the audit)
    This is how it reads at present: on the Food Safety Issue 8

    If you look up BRC Participate and type in the use of BRC logos it will take you to the section you require.
    For Food its 5.6 BRC Global Standards Logos

    This website is a Gem, so glad I found it and Kassy your doing a brilliant job.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Carrie says:

    Yes, I’m with Deanne’s comments. If you have any exclusions on your scope or supply traded goods you cannot use the BRC logo. I’m recommending to my Board to move away from BRC as the standard is shifting from the focus of food safety for the customer and consumer to just hoops we have to jump through for certification. I agree with others that it appears that the auditors are being directed to find noncompliance rather than compliance by looking for the easy things that may get missed. Goes against everything we are trained to do when auditing, very bad form.

  • Martyn Sparks says:

    Good Afternoon,
    I also followed the instructions and I have just received the new logo and usage guidelines, They were very quick to respond.

    Thanks, Techni-k for the article.

  • nikki says:

    We were told by our auditor that the change of name is due to a change of ownership of the standards. The standards are no longer owned by the British Retail Consortium. In regards to the logo its use was restricted back when issue 7 was released as I remember telling my manager to remove the logo from our specs and email footers.

    Issue 7, Page 83 states
    “If a site is no longer certificated because of certificate expiry, withdrawal or suspension shall no longer use the logo or certificate claiming certification”

    ” The BRC logo is not a product certification mark and shall not be used on products or product packaging”

    ” The BRC logo may not be used by companies that do not include all products within the audit scope”

    Issue 8, Page 79 adds
    ” Note the food logo shall not be used in promoting products purchased for resale by a site (traded goods)

    My manager also missed this as he only reads the standards section,

  • Martina Oconnor says:

    I was totally unaware of this change! Great update and great articles !

  • Bob Bowman says:

    Hi Kassy
    As you say, I really hope that they also look into their communication channels and try to improve that too! They still haven’t responded to my comment regarding the sneaky change to the definition of ‘primary packaging’, which you highlighted some weeks ago.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Avis Baden says:

    Hi Kassy yet another good find, thank you

  • Sarah Wood says:

    Hi Kassy
    Thank you for this! Does anyone know if or how this affects the BRC Storage & Distribution side of things?

    • Charlotte Wallace says:

      I would also like to know if it affects Agents and Brokers BRC. Thanks Charlotte

      • Kassy Marsh says:

        Hi Chartlotte
        It’s not part of the standard at the moment for A&B, but the theory applies, so I would get it sorted now anyway.
        Thanks
        Kassy

    • Kassy Marsh says:

      Hi
      It’s not part of the standard at the moment for S&D, but the theory applies, so I would get it sorted now anyway.
      Thanks
      Kassy

  • Mathieu says:

    Hi,
    As mentioned in issue 7, the logo must not be used in such a way you can think that the product is certified. The process is, not the product.
    However, I know some B2B companies who printed the BRC logo on the Pallet packaging, so the tertiary packaging. When you open the box, there is no more logo inside, but this is the breach GFSI was looking at when he asked Standard managers to add this clause in standards.
    The problem was that they were unable to act in an “easy” way to prevent that.

  • Ken Driver says:

    I was recently made aware of another potential NC concerning a company whose activities also include traded goods. Under version 7, this was a voluntary model and therefore the BRC logo could be used on the company website. Under version 8, traded goods is now part of the BRC standard – if the company continues to exclude traded goods from the scope of certification, the use of the BRC logo would then be an NC.

    • Ingrid Cravioto says:

      Hi Ken,
      Can you further explain your comment. I was asked if we could use the BRC logo in our company emails, our activities include traded goods. Why under issue 8 using the logo with the traded woods section included would be a NC?

      • Ken Driver says:

        Ingrid

        A bit late but…traded goods were excluded for the scope of certification so the logo could not be used.

        If you have an excusing you cannot use the logo – a BRC requirement at the time. of the audit.

        Ken

        • Shaun says:

          I know I am late to the party, but I felt it best to point out that you can use the logo whilst having traded goods as an exclusion. This would not result in a non-conformance.

          • Kassy Marsh says:

            Hi,
            That’s not correct I’m afraid, see text from the standard below:
            “Products purchased for resale by a site (i.e. traded products) can form an agreed exclusion and therefore the requirements of section 9 will not be applicable. It should be noted that the BRC Global Standards ‘food’ logo cannot be used for promoting traded products even when they form part of the certificated scope.”
            Page 67 of the food standard.
            Thanks
            Kassy

          • Kassy Marsh says:

            Further discussion on this point has resulted in the following guidance being shared with me: F835 Guidance on completion of audit report
            This document states that exclusion of the traded products section of the standard does NOT mean that the logo can’t be used.
            Whereas all other BRC documents state that if you exclude traded products, you CANNOT use the logo.
            I’ve requested clarification from BRC but unfortunately I’ve not got a response.
            Therefore, I would suggest we air on the side of caution and do not use the logo if you exclude traded products, as most of the BRC’s documentation says so.

  • Trevor says:

    The certificate that was issued by the certification body that raised this NC – did it have the new logo on it. I have a client that received their certificate 2 days ago from a RVA accredited certification body depicting the old logo.

  • Robert Bowman says:

    And there was me thinking that non-conformances were for transgressions against food safety, legality or quality!

  • Carrie says:

    The other thing that puzzles me is surely you cannot use the new BRCGS logo until you have been certificated against version 8. You may be working to version 8 but until you have had the audit, cleared NCs and been approved then surely you are only entitled to use the old logo of which you are approved against or is that BRCGS now being the owners of the standard expect everyone just to change?

  • Designer says:

    Thank you so much for this!

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