This article is written to meet the following sections of the Standards:

BRCGS Food Safety Issue 84.9.4 Products packed into glass or other brittle containers
BRCGS Packaging Issue 6No specific clauses, even for sites making glass containers
BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 3Not applicable
BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 4Not applicable
FSSC22000 Version 5.1No specific clauses
IFS Food Version 74.12.7 Glass containers
SQF Edition 9No specific clauses


The scope for the control of glass, brittle plastics and ceramics is:

  • All items in facilities and equipment where product is held or handled.
  • Items in areas where breakages could get transferred into product areas (for example on shoes or wheels).


A procedure must be in place for the management of glass, brittle plastics and ceramics which includes:

  • A glass policy, of what is and what’s not allowed on site.
  • A risk assessment and register of the items.
  • Condition-based checks of the items.
  • Maintenance of items.


Glass, ceramics and other brittle materials must be removed from product areas, wherever this is possible. Where these materials can’t be avoided, they must be protected to prevent them from breaking.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment must be carried out of all items within scope, to determine how often the condition-based checks must be carried out.

The risk assessment must determine the:

  • Likelihood of the breakage.
  • Likelihood of a breakage contaminating materials.

The higher the risk, the more frequent the check must be. There isn’t a set frequency for these checks, it’s up to you to determine what’s required. However, it’s expected that high-risk would result in a daily frequency and then you can work back from there.

Register of items

All glass, ceramic and brittle plastics covered by the scope, must be listed on a register, which includes:

  • Details of the item location.
  • The number of items.
  • The type of material; glass, ceramic or brittle plastic.

Condition-based checks

Each item on the register must be checked at the frequency identified through the risk assessment.

The condition-based checks must assess the item for damage, recording the outcome of the check – even where the item is found to be in good condition (this is called positive confirmation).


Maintenance and cleaning of glass items (such as light bulbs or EFK bulbs) must be carried out in a way that minimises the risk of breakage. Items at risk during maintenance and cleaning, must be moved or protected.


A breakage procedure must be in place, which details:

  • Reporting of breakages to a responsible person.
  • How to isolate the affected area which must be a 10m isolation zone – at least, around the breakage.
  • The processing of product must stop within the affected zone – as a minimum.
  • Risk assessment to determine if any other materials may have been affected.
  • Quarantine of affected materials .
  • Restricting access of personnel to the affected zone.

The procedure must also detail how the area should be cleaned, including:

  • Who is authorised to carry out the clean.
  • Using a top-down cleaning method.
  • What equipment must be used and what must happen to it after use.
  • How broken materials must be disposed of.
  • Changing of personal protective clothing by staff who have been in the affected area.
  • Inspection of the area by an authorised member of staff, prior to the removal of the isolation zone and re-start of any product handling.

The breakage must be documented along with all actions taken.

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This pack includes a detailed procedure which explains how the allergen risk assessment will be carried out and how the allergen controls will be implemented. You’re also provided with detailed allergen controls, so all you need to do is identify which ones meet your needs, adapt and implement them.

The pack details chemical verification, approval, storage, spills and training. Plus, utilities in the form of gas, air and water are covered too.

Glass, brittle plastics, and ceramics:
A risk assessment for glass, brittle plastics and ceramics is needed. Again this pack provides you with detailed instructions on how to carry out the risk assessment, using a decision tree which will define the frequency of the conditional-based checks that are needed. Once you’ve defined what needs checking and when, you’re provided with the records you need so you can populate and implement them.

If your site packs into glass, brittle plastic or ceramic containers – this is covered too, to ensure that the risk of containers contaminating the product is controlled.

Metal sharps:
Finally, metal sharps for items like knives, wood control and other hazards are also included.

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Have your say…

One thought on “Controlling glass, brittle plastic and ceramic materials

  1. I’ve always found the frequency of glass and brittle plastics audits to be an area of debate.

    Many manufacturers default to a monthly audit, even though the shelf life of their product dictates that their product will have been shipped to the end consumer well before the next audit is due. This would not protect the consumer if a breakage were identified, but still seems to be accepted by auditors as complying with the standard.

    Surely this should not be acceptable?

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