An integral part of the traceability exercise is a quantity check or mass balance. The scope for this is to be able to trace the full batch of a raw material, including primary packaging.
BRC 8 definition: A reconciliation of the amount of incoming raw material against the amount used in the resulting finished products, which also takes into account process waste and rework.
Some guidance for the BRC requirements on how to carry out the mass balance exercise:
The mass balance exercise is usually undertaken as follows:
Below some tips which help to perform and collect required data:
1. Select a batch code of a particular specific raw material. Attention: It is critical to have fully traced batch code in place. From supplier through the whole production process, until the warehousing and transportation process.
2. Identify the quantity of the raw material supplied under that batch code. Attention: Sometimes a supplier could deliver a raw material in more than one transport. Be sure to take into account all deliveries of the specific batch of raw material.
3. Review your forms/ documentation to be sure they include quantity information: all documentation in place should also include quantity, not only the batch code.
4. Identify the recipes in which the ingredient is used. Attention: Check if you are using the latest version of a recipe. Based on the recipes you can calculate the quantity of the traced raw material. Good practice is to perform mass balance exercises for previous, new and updated recipes.
5. Use production schedules and batch make-up sheets to calculate the quantities of the selected batch of ingredient used in each product. Attention: Try to use the forms filled in during production runs. You should focus on real documentation/ from production life, not the theoretical calculations/ production schedule.
6. Calculate the quantity of any unused part of the batch in the warehouse. Attention: Not all released for production raw materials will be used during production. In this case, there are returned raw materials from production to warehouse which are therefore not used for production but have to be calculated for the mass balance.
7. Reconcile the quantity delivered against the amounts used plus any residual unused stock. Attention: Sometimes the production plan is not fulfilled, e.g. there could be some failures, production stops.
We have to be aware that the mass balance exercise will not be able to account for all material up to 100%. In the calculation you should also include losses during the production. The mass balance exercise is a good time to look closely and identify issues often missed during traceability. The company should identify discrepancies and demonstrate understanding of the nature of the losses.
Good practice is to identify all possible losses. This could be done by:
Losses which should be included in the mass balance exercise:
Mass balance is a part of the traceability exercise for raw material but focusing on the quantities. In general, showing how much finished product was manufactured and ensuring this matches the amount of raw material used.
We would like to help you with an effective mass balance exercise: contact us for a practical approach and prevent issues: you don’t want to improvise during a crisis, so be prepared!