Jackson DC Earns BRC Certificate

The Merchants Foodservice distribution center in Jackson recently earned the British Retail Consortium’s Global Standard for Storage and Distribution, a leading certification signaling the center’s dedication to best practices in the storing, wholesaling and distributing of food and other products.

The standard was introduced in 2006 by the BRC, the largest trade organization in the British retail industry, and has since been adopted by 23,000 suppliers in 123 countries. The standard provides an essential certification link between the range of BRC manufacturing standards and the end user, the retailer and the foodservice company.

All activities affecting the safety, quality and legality of the products stored and distributed at the center are audited during the standard’s review process. The standard is divided into eight sections, including senior management commitment and continuous improvement; hazard and risk analysis; quality management systems; site and building standards; vehicle operating standards; facility management; good operating practices; and personnel.

The certification process lasted one year and focused on updated policies and procedures and increased employee training. Detailed documentation and an on-site visit from June 2829 were also required, said Rodney Elam, director of food safety for Merchants.

The BRC standard is the highest audit in our industry,” said Elam. “We pursued it because our customer base is looking for us to be certified at the highest level.”

Andy Mercier, president and CEO of Merchants, said the certification should be reassuring to current customers and attractive to potential customers.

The standard shows that we have best practices in place as well as a process of continual improvement,” said Mercier. “Customers can have confidence in our processes and in the integrity of all products received from us.”

The Jackson center, which services nearly 3,000 customers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee, is the second Merchants facility to receive the certification. The distribution center in Tifton, Georgia, received the certification in March 2016.

Merchants, which serves 12 Southeastern states, is ranked 12th in sales volume among the approximately2,600 food distribution companies in the United States. The corporate office is located in Hattiesburg.