Retailers are now selling more of their own branded goods, and these sales represent more than 50% of all food sold in the UK. The Food Safety Act 1990 placed a series of obligations on retailers to ensure the highest possible standards.

Own brand food has always been the subject of high production and hygiene standards, but in the past many retailers undertook inspection of these standards separately. In order to help retailers to meet these legal standards and to protect the consumer, as well as compliment their own inspection arrangements, the British Retail Consortium developed a Technical Standard to form a common basis by which own brand suppliers will be certified.

The new third edition of the BRC Technical Standard for Companies Supplying Retailer Branded Food Products will be available from 22 April 2002.

The updated Standard has sought to:

·Improve particular clauses in the Standard, in response to feedback from manufacturers and inspection bodies
·Move from an inspection-based Standard (EN45004) to a certification-based Standard (EN45011)
·Ensure that the Standard meets the requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative.

Following BRC meetings with stakeholders, timescales and a conversion process to implement the third edition has been agreed, phasing out the second edition by 31 August 2002.