Grimsby salmon and trout specialist JCS Fish is again celebrating achieving the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety, despite the complexity and challenge involved in auditing under Covid-19 conditions.

The  standard  is the most widely-used quality assurance standard in food manufacturing and the benchmark applied by all the UK’s major supermarkets to qualify their suppliers. It is usually awarded as the result of a detailed on-site audit by a BRC-accredited assessor, something not possible this year due to the pandemic.

JCS Financial Controller, Rosie Knight, said: “The BRC audit is always rigorous, but the Covid era assessment proved exceptionally complex, requiring two and a half days of online assessment, factory inspections conducted via WhatsApp and the electronic sharing and processing of a vast number of documents.

“We estimate that achieving BRC under the current conditions was about 25% more costly in terms of both time and expenditure.  Nevertheless, we’re delighted to have overcome the challenges to achieve our BRC accreditation once again.”

Family-owned JCS Fish specialises in salmon. The company has managed to maintain its £10m revenue over the past 12 months by replacing the loss of foodservice sales during the pandemic with increased home delivery and retail sales.

Established 21 years ago by husband and wife team Andrew and Louise Coulbeck, JCS Fish now employs 40 people on Grimsby Fish Docks and has an annual turnover of £10m.

The company’s own award-winning BigFish™ brand is distributed in independent and online retailers (including Ocado and MuscleFoods) and includes products such as prepared salmon fillets, fish cakes, breaded salmon and smoked fish.

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