IFS Food Certification
Inspired by the BRC Food Standard scheme for supplier qualification, the IFS Food Standard, now in its sixth issue, has been developed by a team currently comprising leading players in the German, French, Italian, Austrian and Swiss distribution industry.
The IFS Food Standard is managed by IFS Management GmbH and its purpose is to establish a uniform evaluation system for food safety and product quality, both for suppliers of private label products and for manufacturers dealing with food processing and/or packaging. The main principle of the Standard is to help companies fully meet industry-specific regulatory requirements, thus protecting consumer health and safety.
Approved by GFSI - Global Food Safety Initiative, the Standard is globally recognized and only EN 45011-accredited product certification bodies such as TÜV Italia may perform verifications in compliance with the IFS Standard.
Issue 6 was officially released in January 2012 and it is mandatory as of July 1st 2012. It is available for download free of charge from the IFS portal at www.Ifs-certification.com
Our services at a glance
TÜV Italia formulates a three-yearly offer for IFS Food certification; following acceptance by the client it issues an order confirmation in order to initiate the certification process.
The IFS Food standard applies when products are processed or when there is a risk of product contamination during primary packaging. The standard requires the following:
- full responsibility of senior management;
- adoption of a HACCP system according to the principles of the Codex Alimentarius;
- adoption of a documented quality management system;
- resource management;
- controls on production environment, products, process and personnel;
- planning of production process;
- measurements, analyses, improvement.
The IFS Food standard establishes specific requirements referred to as KO requirements (KO=Knock out). If during the audit the auditor establishes that these requirements are not fulfilled by the company, this results in non-certification.
- The following are defined as KO requirements:
- 1.2.4 Responsibility of the senior management
- 126.96.36.199.1 Monitoring system of each CCP
- 188.8.131.52 Personnel hygiene
- 184.108.40.206 Raw material specifications
- 220.127.116.11 Recipe compliance
- 4.12.1 Foreign material management
- 4.18.1 Traceability system
- 5.1.1 Internal audits
- 5.9.2 Procedure for withdrawal and recall
- 5.11.2 Corrective actions
The verification audit results in a compliance percentage which determines the certification level attained:
- FOUNDATION level: between 75% and 95%;
- HIGHER level: equal to or exceeding 95%.
The IFS Food Standard v6
Key changes in IFS issue six can be summarized as follows:
- New scoring system designed to better identify companies implementing best practices;
- Clear rules for determining audit duration based on a pragmatic calculation tool designed by IFS;
- improved monitoring of the performance of certification bodies through the IFS Integrity Program;
- introduction of additional quality requirements (e.g. nutritional analyses, more requirements on weight control, more requirements on the quality/quantity of information provided on labelling, etc.);
- food defence requirements are introduced in IFS Food audit check-list.
- additional food contact requirements;
- introduction of technology scopes in order to improve auditor expertise on products and processes.
Prior to issuing the certificate, TÜV Italia performs the following actions:
- the company produces a corrective action plan in order to manage any deficiencies found;
- final resolution by the TÜV Italia Approval Committee.
The certificate has a one-year validity. At least one audit must be performed each year, the positive outcome of which results in the issuance of a new certificate.