Smurfit Kappa FCP Achieves AA BRC Accreditation
We (Smurfit Kappa Food Contact Packaging) are delighted to announce that we have once again achieved a BRC Accreditation with an AA grade.
AA is the highest level on offer for annual audits and means that Smurfit Kappa Food Contact Packaging can confidently continue to deliver our services around the globe.
Because we work with packaging that comes in direct contact with food - from customised single face corrugate liners to confectionery cushion pads, this accreditation is incredibly important.
Why is a BRC Accreditation important?
The BRCGS - Brand Reputation through Compliance of Global Standards - was formed in 1998 by food retailers who wanted to ensure the highest consumer standards across the industry. Previously known as BRC - British Retail Consortium - It is a market-leading organisation that aims to ensure confidence in the food supply chain.
Their remit covers food safety, packaging and materials, and more - and the accreditation, audited every year, remains the best way to provide assurance of brand quality.
It’s the first packaging standard to be recognised by GFSI - Global Food Safety Initiative - so clients can know that they can trade worldwide without issues.
Several retailers now require BRCGS accreditation as standard, so ensuring your packaging supplier is following the steps required is more important than ever.
More than anything else, it’s a safety issue. Food packaging is held to especially high standards because of the potential for contamination, allergies, and sickness. A company that holds a high BRC Accreditation is much safer for your consumers, and so better for your brand as a whole.
What does an AA rating mean?
Put simply, AA is the highest grade possible for an announced audit. The grades available range from AA to Uncertified, as follows:
AA, A, B, C, D, Uncertified.
An AA grade means that a company passed the annual audit with no more than five minor non-conformances. A minor means that there has been a small deviation in standards, or that a clause in the accreditation has not been fully met - but not ignored entirely, either.
Any major non-conformance immediately takes the grade to a B or below, while a critical non-conformance - which means that there’s a direct food safety issue - takes you immediately to an Uncertified grade.
The latest BRCGS Packaging Materials Issue, number 6, is from 2019. Smurfit Kappa Food Contact Packaging was already working to that level, so we didn’t have much to update!
Smurfit Kappa’s BRC history
At Smurfit Kappa Food Contact Packaging, we are very proud of our history with the BRCGS. We have achieved grade AA since it was introduced, with consistent A grades (the previous highest possible achievement) before that.
Before version six was introduced in 2019, there were two levels and lower for packaging, with a high level for food-grade packaging. Smurfit Kappa Food Contact Packaging has always been audited against this higher level and has been proud of the results.
Nowadays, all manufacturers must adhere to the same standards as food-grade packaging.
These standards are essential to the Smurfit Kappa business model. A central ethos is that customers should receive the highest quality packaging that meets their needs, and we consider an AA grade to be vital in meeting that goal.
Normally, audits are held annually in person. However, due to COVID, there have been some complications recently!
Our Smurfit Kappa Food Contact Packaging 2020 audit was put on hold to prevent all non-necessary visitors to the site. Instead, in May 2020, we underwent an online BRCGS Risk Assessment based audit, like many other companies. This extended the previous BRCGS Certificate by six months.
By September 2020 things were a little calmer, and we underwent a full on-site audit on the 28th and 29th of that month, resulting in our usual AA grade.
Following that, we were keen to get our regular audits back on schedule and requested the next audit to be early in 2021. This was set for the 11th and 12th May 2021, and Smurfit Kappa has once again met the AA standards!
If you’re keen to know more about our Smurfit Kappa Food Contact Packaging standards and products, get in touch via the form below.