Last updated: 03.08.11

Unannounced BRC audits 'could force better food safety standards'

The latest edition of the British Retail Consortium's (BRC's) Global Standard for Food Safety, will aim to improve the standards of food hygiene across the British food retailing and manufacturing industries.

In what is being billed as an innovative step, reports that the BRC's latest guidelines to encourage manufacturers to sign up to unannounced audits are expected to boost confidence across the industry more widely.

Under the scheme, firms should receive higher marks for opting for unannounced visits, which should increase their chances of winning contracts with retailers who are keen to be seen as endorsing high standards.

The randomised audits are considered a "more realistic way" of assessing hygiene levels, according to a BRC spokeswoman.

"Factory standards and safety are taken incredibly seriously, and of course such standards [like the BRC's] are evolving as a matter of course", as demand for such raised levels of inspection increase, the spokeswoman added.

The latest Food Standards Agency public attitudes survey last month found that around 82 per cent of the general public are now aware of essential food hygiene standards.