IFS Food version 8 has been released

IFS Food version 8 has been released

Dear customers,

IFS Food version 8 has been releasedIFS Management GmbH has announced the official publication of the IFS Food version 8 standard. IFS Food version 8 audits are possible from 1 October 2023 and become mandatory for all certified companies as of 1 January 2024.

In general, the applicability of version 7 ends on 31 December 2023. In some exceptional situations, IFS Food version 7 can apply after 1 January 2024. The general admission of these exceptions ends on 31 December 2024. Here is an overview:

For unannounced audits: Version 8 applies when the audit window starts on or after 1 October.

For multi-site audits: You need to audit sites and head office to the same version. After 1 January 2024, version 8 applies to all audits performed at the head office.
For follow-up audits: When the connected “main” audit took place according to version 7 before 1 January 2024, version 7 applies for the follow-up audit.
For extension audits: When the connected “main” audit took place according to version 7 before 1 January 2024, version 7 also applies for the extension audit

A number of changes have been implemented to the requirements part of the standard and the protocol. The IFS Food has been aligned with Codex Alimentarius and ISO 22003-2 and also the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. The scoring system has been improved guiding the IFS certified companies towards continuous improvement in their performance. And a number of rules and administrative requirements have been optimized to meet the call for greater value and efficiency.

At Certima, we will be taking swift action to update our processes and incorporate the changes, and we will be providing certification for the standard as soon as it comes into effect.

We will launch soon numerous communications and events to inform you accordingly about the changes that the IFS certified companies should effectuate in their FSMS prior to their IFS Food 8 audits.

Certima™ Update April 2023

Certima™ Update April 2023

Improved customer service process

Taking into account your ongoing feedback, the complexity of all standard requirements (especially regarding unannounced audits), we are focused on making the process of planning and performing the audits more transparent, predictable and efficient.

In order to sustain and develop your business in the food supply chain, you need to operate efficiently and to assure the trust of your clients in your operations. You need to maintain your certification uninterrupted and expect from us to plan and perform the audit and certification process smoothly.

To be able to meet your expectations and these of standard owners, we need to assure that the information needed is gathered on time and taken into account throughout the whole certification cycle. We count on you to inform us in due course whenever significant changes occur in your operations during the validity of your certificate. From now on, we will prompt you to send us the information about expected changes in your production much in advance and we will rely on your cooperation and transparency. This will enable us to maintain a predictable and efficient auditing and certification process.

Of course, you will still continue to develop new products and introduce new processes whenever a need for that occurs. Once we are informed about this, we will do our best to take into account these changes and integrate them in the ongoing audit and certification process as much as possible. It is our focus to minimize additional audits and related costs. Whenever the changes are crucial for maintaining and/or extending your scope of certification, extensions are always possible.

To enable these improvements we have changed our cancellation terms from 3 to 6 month in our General Certification Conditions and IFS and BRC Certification agreement terms. You can find their latest versions here: https://certima.org/certima/downloads/. We would like to consider any objections or other feedback you might have about the changes and would like to hear from you till 12.05.2023.

Unannounced audits – ongoing learning and improvements
This year we go together through the challenges of Unannounced audits and only through efficient collaboration, we can assure that the audits are performed consistently. We are really pleased with the results until now. We did not experience critical situations with cancelled or not performed audits and we do not observe an increased number of critical NCs and suspension of certificates due to the unannounced character of the major part of the audits in the current period.

We are aware that this is possible only because of your good preparation and really appreciate your dedicated work. To continue the audit performance even more smoothly, we would like to draw your attention to some lessons learnt and possible improvements in preparing for the unannounced audits from your side:

Assure responsible people are available: Success at an unannounced audit relies upon the ability of the company to share information and knowledge within, to have effective deputies to cover in the absence of a particular manager, and a shared responsibility within the management team for food safety and compliance with the standard.

Assure auditor access and that all your products and technology processes can be demonstrated during the audit: We are aware that some processes are not running 24/7 but you still need to assure the operation of your processes during the audit. For this, the good preparation from your side is key. Think of organizing the prerequisites for full operation during the audit – the delivery of raw materials, the planning of production processes and shifts etc. If a fully operational production is not possible, we may find a solution through scope exclusions and extensions to enable the maintenance of certification for the needed scope.

Boosting the understanding of BRCGS issue 9 requirements
To maintain and boost the understanding of existing and newly introduced requirements in the BRCGS Food safety standard Certima holds the following courses throughout 2023:

  • Issue 9: Conversion for Sites (1 day duration) – 6.06.2023; October 2023
  • Internal auditor course (2 days duration) – 12-13.09.2023;
  • Environmental monitoring – October/November 2023
  • Food Safety Culture – October/November 2023

For the delivery of these courses we collaborate with Mr. Jan Jelle Spit. He is a BRCGS Food safety and S&D auditor and a dedicated and experienced trainer, delivering BRCGS recognized or client specific training courses. His years’ long and diverse industry and auditing experience are invaluable contribution to the competence of Certima team, as well as to our customers.

Expanding our auditor capacity to serve your audits

After finalizing the qualification of our new IFS auditor Mr. Jeroen van Loon in October 2022 who covers a wide range of product and technology scopes, we are announcing a new round of our proven auditor qualification program for IFS & BRC in the Netherlands.

It contains a customized package of focused trainings and exam preparatory activities that have proven their efficiency in our auditor qualification experience in the past 16 years. If you are interested in becoming an IFS or BRC auditor, you can find more information here: https://certima.org/become-an-independent-food-safety-auditor/  and join our next IFS In-house training course for candidate auditors – coming in September 2023 in English.

Certima Scores High across stakeholders and customers

We published recently our performance report for 2022 based on the positive evaluation of our customers and stakeholders.  Certima holds 5 stars with BRCGS since the beginning of its operation in 2019. At the latest KPI assessment we gained 98.21 % (5 stars requirement is >90). We score with 0 failures on a number of indicators of IFS, and high level of compliance and trust with RvA.

Check out our full performance report here

Please send all arising questions and requests to info@certima.org

Yours truly,

Certima team

Certima Scores High across our stakeholders and customers

Certima Scores High across our stakeholders and customers

Dear customers,

We are excited to share our unrivalled performance results from the past year. The evaluation of our stakeholders and customers show that we enjoy a high level of trust among them.

Certima holds 5 stars with BRCGS since the beginning of its operation in 2019. At the latest KPI assessment we gained 98.21 % (5 stars requirement is >90). We score with 0 failures on a number of indicators of IFS, and high level of compliance and trust with RvA.

We are mostly encouraged by our customer survey which shows a high rate of customer satisfaction with our services.

None of these achievements would have been possible without your dedicated work and performance. We would like to express our sincere appreciation for your trust and loyal cooperation over the past four years – years of learning and growth for Certima team.

Certima Scores High across our stakeholders and customers

Certima Scores High across our stakeholders and customers

Certima Scores High across our stakeholders and customers

Certima Scores High across our stakeholders and customers

Certima Scores High across our stakeholders and customers

Check out our full performance report here

Update on Food Safety Incidents

Update on Food Safety Incidents

Update on Food Safety Incidents – what you need to do to assure that your certification is maintained?

Dear customers,

We would like to draw your attention to important requirements regarding food safety incidents, e.g. recalls and withdrawals, how you manage them and report and notify Certima BV about this. Keep in mind that the way you handle food safety incidents has a direct impact on your certificate. Read on to know what you need to do to assure that your certification is maintained.

For Food Safety Incidents including: product recall(s), product recall(s) and / or withdrawal(s) by official order concerning food safety and / or food fraud reasons or any visit from health authorities which resulted in notifications and / or penalties issued by authorities, Certima BV shall be informed within three (3) working days. Recalls on products out of the certified scope (exclusions) shall also be reported as the cause may have a relation with products in the certified scope.

If Certima BV is not informed about a food safety incident (on time), we may need to suspend the certificate until you prove that your FSMS is working efficiently by informing us about incident details (supported with evidences) and how it is handled.

Reporting should be done by e-mail to recall@certima.org. In order to supply consistent information, certified customers need to fill out the “Notification Form Food Safety Incidents including Recall/Withdrawal”. You can find the form on our website: https://certima.org/certima/recall-management/. This form has to be completed and sent to Certima as soon as possible. Furthermore, certified customers are responsible for investigating and subsequently providing the details including the Correction, Corrective Actions and Root Cause Analysis regarding the incident. An Incident manager at Certima shall review the submitted information in the completed form and all additionally provided documents, and evaluate whether the incident has been managed in a satisfactory way and whether the certificate can be maintained. All information will be treated strictly confidential, but it will be reported to the scheme owners as per their strict protocols for reporting of food safety incidents. The information will be reported to the accreditation bodies at their request. Incidents having a major impact on public safety and/or generating a lot of media interest have to be reported to Certima pro-actively.

BRCGS requires from certification bodies to notify BRCGS within 2 working days of receiving the recall information (and other incidents) by completing recall submission form on BRCGS Directory with the product safety incident details received from the site. However, this initial notification should contain basic product, site, and incident details. The remaining information can be added at a later date, once the certification body review is complete. This remaining information should be updated within 3 weeks of the date of recall (i.e. 21 calendar days) by the Certification Body.

With the version 7 of the IFS Food IFS has required the reporting of extraordinary information about certified customers including food safety incidents such as product recalls, product withdrawals by official order concerning food safety and food fraud reasons, or any visit from health authorities which resulted in notifications or penalties issued by authorities, the certification body shall be informed. With IFS Food version 8 the required information is a lot more detailed and strict deadlines will be introduced.

To allow enough time for your preparation to meet the upcoming requirements by IFS, hereby a brief extract from the draft IFS Food v8 about handling and reporting food safety incidents:

<<<Notifications to the certification body

During the certification cycle, the senior management of the company shall ensure that the certification body is informed in due time about any changes that may affect the company’s ability to conform to the certification requirements (e.g. recall, alert on products, changes in organization and management, important modifications on the products and/or the production methods, changes in contact address and production sites, new address of the production site, etc.). The details shall be defined and agreed between both parties. As required in the IFS Food Audit checklist (Part 2), requirement 1.2.6, some specific situations require a notification to the certification body within three (3) working days.

After receiving such information from the sites (limited to the three (3) specific situations requiring a company notification within three (3) working days), the certification body shall:

  • Fill out in English the relevant form provided in the IFS Database and send it back to IFS Management GmbH within three (3) working days after receiving the information from the company.
  • Provide to IFS Management GmbH a root cause analysis and progress of the investigation within ten (10) working days (after submitting the form).

It is the certification body’s responsibility to investigate each situation and decide any action on the IFS Certification status.>>>

For more information and audit requests you can contact us at: info@certima.org.

Certima BV has become IFS Training Provider

Certima BV has become IFS Training Provider

Our team is proud to inform you that Certima BV has become an IFS approved training provider and you can expect our first IFS trainings in Q1 2023.

An IFS Training Provider is a training center recognized by IFS Management GmbH that provides specific training courses on different topics with the aim to implement and get insights into IFS standards in the food quality and safety field. 

In November 2022 Certima BV has joined the IFS Academy and has been recognized as an IFS Training Provider.

The list of approved training providers can be found here: IFS Database – Training centers (ifs-certification.com)

You can expect our first IFS trainings in Q1 2023.

RvA has extended the validity of Certima’s declaration of accreditation

RvA has extended the validity of Certima’s declaration of accreditation

On the basis of the assessment performed earlier in 2022 the RvA has extended the validity of Certima’s declaration of accreditationhttps://www.rva.nl/en/alle-geaccrediteerden/?search=certima&sort=ASC;rva_Accrnr&page=1

Our organization continues to comply demonstrably with the full scope of the accreditation requirements with due observance of the applicable interpretation and application documents as specified on the website of the RvA (www.rva.nl).

Update on possible disrupted supply chains due to the situation in Ukraine

Update on possible disrupted supply chains due to the situation in Ukraine

In response to the situation in Ukraine and the problem of disrupted supply chains, supply bottlenecks for raw materials and the resulting influences on supplier and raw material management as well as on customer specification and recipe management in terms of allergen, GMO and labelling, IFS have issued the following guidance for IFS stakeholders: IFS Database – IFS Blog – Supply chain disruption through Ukraine crisis – Guidance for IFS Stakeholders (ifs-certification.com).

Certified customers should take into account that all necessary changes in products and process management should be comprehensive. This comprehensive documentation and communication must be available during the next IFS Assessment. Documentation of the issues, decisions and measures taken and communication of the changes made in order to maintain production and meet delivery obligations, should be maintained.

Certima’s training courses coming in Q2 2022

Certima’s training courses coming in Q2 2022

Internal Auditor Course (IFS&BRC based)

The essential skills for internal auditing of Food Safety Management System based on IFS and/or BRC;

  • coming in Q2 2022, in Dutch.

Lead Auditor Course (IFS&BRC based)

IFS&BRC based 5days Lead Auditor Course – the central stepping stone for a career in food safety auditing;

  • coming in Q2 2022, in English.
IFS launches remote audit option for IFS Broker Version 3

IFS launches remote audit option for IFS Broker Version 3

IFS has announced its approach to remote auditing. Currently broker companies that are already IFS Broker certified can take advantage of the option for performing of their next certification audit remotely.

We believe that remote audits add value to all participants in the auditing and certification process whenever it is feasible and can be performed in an adequate manner. It brings in more efficiency for certified companies, decreases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and additionally improves auditors’ work-life balance.

If you would like to take advantage of our special conditions for your next remote IFS Broker audit, please contact us here .

∞ ∞ ∞

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made remote auditing more feasible.

To provide full guidance on the approach to remote auditing, IFS Management have designed an additional audit protocol on how to conduct an IFS Broker remote audit to ensure a robust audit process by applying remote ICT for the evaluation of IFS Broker Version 3 requirements.

The remote option is voluntary and needs to be agreed well in advance between the certification body and the company subject to IFS Broker certification (e.g. if a scheduled IFS on-site audit cannot take place due to Corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) travel / access restrictions or if the nature of a broker is decentralised and runs without a centralised office (co-working spaces, “shared office”structures), or when “face-to-face” methods are not essential for the effectiveness of conducting the audit).

Prior to audit preparation and as a pre-requisite, the certification body shall conduct a risk assessment to determine whether it is feasible to apply the remote audit option.

The following factors shall be considered, but are not limited to:

  • adequate cooperation from the auditee (e.g. access to an IT system, availability and capability of the auditee to use technology such as remote ICT);
  • resources including access to sufficient, adequate and appropriate information and communication technology, including IT support for the ICT platform, if necessary;
  • the limitation of the site’s willingness to share the information remotely.

IFS launches remote audit option for IFS Broker Version 3

Source: IFS Management GbmH