Mowi's Blar Mhor processing plant was graded AA+ after an unannounced audit by the British Retail Consortium.

Mowi Scotland plant scores top grade in surprise audit

The Blar Mhor primary processing plant run by salmon farmer Mowi Scotland was awarded an AA+ rating – the highest possible grade - in a recent unannounced audit undertaken by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

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The audit is an official assessment of a food manufacturer’s adherence to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety and involves a thorough examination of all processes and documents involved in manufacturing food. Audits are mandatory and manufacturers are notified if the next visit will be announced or unannounced.

In an article on Mowi Scotland’s website, Mowi quality systems manager Nicola MacColl said the auditor turned up at the Fort William facility at 8.30am on May 2, around six months after the company had been told it would receive an audit on an unspecified date.

Perfect preparation

“As soon as my mobile rang, all our preparations kicked in. The Standard requires that we begin with a meeting with factory managers, and then be in production within 30 minutes of the auditor’s arrival. We had pre-prepared emails, meeting notifications, and traceback requests to help things run smoothly,” said MacColl.

Team leaders, engineers and quality monitors had been given one-to-one training to prepare them on what to expect during the audit. There were also weekly meetings to help risk assess any issues presented by the building work at the facility, which is being expanded, and to ensure that the whole team was prepared.

Department team leaders were asked to accompany the auditor and MacColl during a tour of the site. This allowed for more operational details to be provided to the auditor.

Plant upgrade

“The BRC auditor had been here twice before, and he was very interested in the presentation of the plant upgrade given by processing director Scott Nolan and operations manager Kris Wilk,” said MacColl.

“This was our first ever unannounced BRC audit and to obtain AA+ grade is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved and working at Blar Mhor, including DFDS, Thistle and Sundolitt staff.”