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IFS Food: basic knowledge

Posted by Laura Heisch on 28/04/2016

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What does International Food Standard (IFS) stand for?

The International Food Standard is a quality standard for the auditing of companies in the food manufacturing and food processing industries. Accredited by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). IFS Food is a product-related standard and can easily be integrated into existing quality management systems such as ISO 9001. Third-party certification organizations provide independent confirmation that an organization meets the requirements of IFS Food. To retain the certification companies must be periodically reviewed.

Originally developed as International Food Standard, the standard was further developed into a more general basic standard with different thematic orientations, one of them is IFS Food. The last version, version 6, has been updated in 2014 (Links to more information about the different versions at the end of the text).

Further IFS standards with different alignements: IFS Broker, IFS Cash & Carry / Wholesale, IFS Food Store, IFS HPC, IFS Logistics.

What are the objectives of IFS?

  • Create a common evaluation system for the auditing of food security
  • Higher transparency throughout the entire supply chain
  • Saving time and costs for suppliers
  • Better quality standards for consumers

The main function of IFS is the monitoring of compliance standards in the manufacture of own brand products regarding quality and food security.

Who is affected by IFS?

All companies which are operating within the food or loose foods products industry inside the supply chain (except primary production) or where a risk of product contamination during the primary packaging exists. IFS Food is applied to:

  • processing and working and/or
  • handling of loose products and/or
  • activities undertaken during the primary packaging

What are the benefits?

  • Ensuring the compliance with industry standards and legal requirements
  • Providing constant monitoring of food & food product quality by independent auditors
  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased consumer confidence

How is IFS structured?

The standard is divided into four parts:

1. Audit protocol
2. List of audit requirements:
  • Senior management responsibility
  • Quality and FS Management System
  • Resource Management
  • Planning and Production process
  • Measures, analysis, improvements
  • Food Defense
3. Requirements for Accreditation Bodies, Certification Bodies and Auditors
4. Reporting, auditXpress software and IFS audit portal

 

Further information:

International Featured Standard

Global Food Safety Initiative

Factsheet IFS Food Version 6: Main changes with version 5

 

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