HACCP was the top non-conformity globally across certified sites, according to a British Retail Consortium (BRC) report.
Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) was the highest offender in the snapshot with 5,627 non-conformities found from audits in 2012.
It presented the most problematic set of criteria and sites worldwide need to improve the maintenance of their HACCP food safety plans, found the report.
BRC conducted audits in 113 countries in 2012 in more than 16,000 food sites covering products from raw fish to ready meals.
BRC analysed 6,500 audit reports uploaded onto their Global Standards Directory over a seven month period in 2012.
Top 10 non-conformities
Building fabric was second with 4,512, pest control (3,038), housekeeping, hygiene (3,012) and senior management commitment (2,547).
Internal audits, glass, brittle, plastic, ceramics and traceability all received below 2,000 non-conformities.
Mark Proctor CEO BRC Global Standards told FoodQualityNews.com that the findings were not surprising as many of the sites are very large buildings so it expected to see some non-conformities.
“What we did find was the non-conformities were fairly insignificant and the sites were easily able to correct them,” he said.
Sites are audited using BRC criteria across areas such as pest control, management commitment, housekeeping and hygiene.
Following a site audit, companies are notified of non-conformities identified, which have to be corrected before certification can be awarded.
Proctor said it’s the reaction of the BRC certificated sites and how they use the information that’s important.
“The information was clearly presented and will help to inform future policies and practices, enhancing the already rigorous safety regime which BRC promotes on behalf of food retailing.
“Our aim is to use this report – and specifically the experiences of different sites in different countries to share knowledge and enable progress.
“We wanted to show openness with the information captured during the audit process so it would help to improve global food safety. The report does this by reviewing not only the sites but also the different territories – it looks at the bigger picture.”
The group admitted that the report only provides a “snapshot” in time and because it was done at BRC-certified sites, it might not be a reflection of the situation country-wide.
The aim was to highlight commonalities, areas of strength and weakness, share best practice, identify challenges and suggest next steps.
The UK was the leader in BRC food safety standards, with 86.9% of its sample sites receiving a Grade-A rating. The US recorded the second-highest score, followed by Italy, the Netherlands and Poland.
China was the lowest-performing country, with 25.5% of its sample site achieving a Grade-A rating. Spain recorded the lowest score for Europe and second-lowest globally.
In Southeast Asia, Specifications for Raw Materials and Packaging was the most commonly-occurring Minor Non- Conformity, and issues with the management of processing controls the third most common.
Southeast Asian sites proved good at controlling risks from non-food chemicals, which is a weak area for most countries, usually ranking second among commonly-occurring Minor Non-Conformities.
It is the first issue of the report with the intention to make it an annual publication, said Proctor.
“Its early days as the report was only published last week but so far the reaction has been very positive. We did present some of these finding at both our US and European conference and it was the reaction at these conferences that encouraged us to publish the report.”