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

BRCGS Food Safety Issue 84.16.5 Product security
BRCGS Packaging Issue 65.10.1 Product security
5.10.2 Packaging
5.10.6 Contractors
BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 3Not applicable.
BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 4
5.2.4 X Driver handling rules
5.4.2 – 5.4.6 X Temperature control
7.2.2 Load movement during transit
11.3.2 Cross-docking returns
12.4.1, 12.4.2 e-commerce returns
12.5.7, 12.5.8 e-commerce packing
FSSC22000 Version Transport and delivery
ISO 22000:2018 g) Transportation
IFS Food Version 74.15.4 Transportation temperature
SQF Edition 911.6.5.6 – Transport

Distribution solutions

The intake, storage and distribution eDocs include the documentation you need to comply with BRCGS.

And why not train your warehouse operatives and drivers using the Food Safety and GMP for Storage and Distribution, it’s perfectly designed to meet the needs of their particular roles.

Product returns

A procedure must be in place for product returns, which must include a risk assessment that determines what materials can be returned and how they must be controlled.

The controls must establish how the returned material must be assessed, such as temperature checks or other forms of testing.

The materials must be placed on hold when they arrive at site, while the assessment is being completed.

The procedure must also state who is authorised to accept returns and what to do with rejected non-conforming materials.


Cross-docking is where a material is transported via another location, where it needs to be processed to make the next journey.

For example, a pallet of product may be sent to location A. Offloaded at location A, and then processed to be put on another vehicle to make the journey to location B. The offloading and processing at location A is cross-docking.

Another example may be: Milk is picked up from farms by a number of small tankers. The small tankers then go to a hub and the milk is transferred onto a larger tanker, to be taken to another location. The transfer of the milk from the smaller tankers to the large tanker at the hub, is cross-docking.

There must be procedures in place which identify the controls for cross-docking to ensure that the material isn’t damaged or contaminated. When developing such procedures, you also need to validate the controls for temperature-controlled materials, including time delays. Make sure you also think about segregation controls that may be required when cross-docking materials.

If your business carries out cross-docking you need to ensure that the roles and responsibilities for this process are well defined. We covered this aspect in the responsibilities section of the Management commitment, organisational structure and responsibilities article.

Driver procedures

Once the vehicle has been loaded, the driver needs to be trained to understand how to handle the load during transit to prevent damage and contamination.

Product security

Drivers need to know how to protect the security of the load during transit, particularly when vehicles are parked and unattended.

Load movement

Drivers should be aware of the risks of movement of the load to prevent damage when the vehicle is being driven and how to secure it if needed.


Where temperature-controlled materials are transported, the driver needs to be:

  • Provided with a system which alerts the driver when the temperature of the holding area goes out of the acceptable limits.
  • Trained in what to do in the event of equipment failure.

When offloading multi-drops, the driver must be trained to ensure that the temperature of the holding area is maintained.

Return controls

Drivers need to be trained to understand:

  • What materials can be returned.
  • How to handle waste returns.
  • Any specific segregation controls.


Where materials need to be delivered by carriers (courier, or postal service), you don’t have as much control on how the delivery is handled. This means that you need to protect the materials from additional risks from this type of delivery method.

Please note carriers can also be known as final-mile deliveries.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions must be in place and must be taken into consideration when you’re working out what risks using the carrier may pose.

Product protection

A risk assessment must be used to work out what risks the carrier may pose, which may result in taint, damage or contamination (including malicious). Where a risk is identified, packaging controls must be put in place to mitigate this risk.

Packing of food products

When sending food product by a carrier, a packing specification must be used to ensure that:

  • Temperature control is maintained.
  • Consumer labelling is compliant and storage and preparation instructions are provided.
  • Traceability is maintained.
  • Staff understand what to do if the dispatch of product is delayed.
  • Necessary checks to be carried out, by who and the frequency.
  • How to look for damages and the reject criteria.

Packaging re-use controls

The BRCGS Storage & Distribution Standard now has a module for e-commerce. This module states how materials should be packed to protect them and then says that if that packaging is to be re-used, there must be a risk assessment to control any risk that this practice poses.

We’re unsure how you can re-use packaging which is used for e-commerce purposes, but if you do – then you need to complete a risk assessment for this.

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