IFS Food Standard

The IFS Food standard is internationally recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative, designed to ensure that IFS-certified companies can deliver products that comply with client-specific product demands as well as international legislation to ensure safety and quality for consumers.

IFS was launched in 2002. IFS is supported by more than 2000 retailers globally and has more than 29000 certificates and LoCs yearly. The IFS standard is the most widespread food safety standard for businesses across Europe, and is presently amassing popularity in the rest of the world. As a bench-marked GFSI schemes IFS provides opportunities for your company to comply with retail demands and customer’s expectations worldwide. Certima BV is accredited for IFS Food by RvA (the Dutch Accreditation Council).

The development of the IFS is based on the ever-rising demands of consumers, the increasing liabilities of retailers and wholesalers, the increasing legal requirements and the globalization of product supplies. International Featured Standard is primarily focused on manufacturers who produce under the so-called “Private” brands (Private labels) and attempt to provide greater certainty to the retail chains that products produced by their suppliers under their brands will be safe and meet quality and legal requirements.

An IFS audit is carried out with efficiency in mind with simultaneous coverage of safety, legality and quality. The report provides an objective evaluation on the quality and safety management systems as well as guidance on how to improve. Audits are carried out annually, evaluating gradings and deviations. In the case of a deviation, corrections should be implemented immediately. While the corrective actions should be planned promptly and can be implemented throughout the year.

The IFS Food standard contains 10 so called “knock-out” criteria. Failure to meet one of those criteria results in no certification. There are two levels of certification – Foundation level (score between 75 and 95%) and Higher level (score >95%). A score below 75% means that no certificate can be granted.

The IFS standard applies to suppliers at all steps of food processing subsequent to the agricultural stage. The requirements are related to the quality management system and the HACCP system (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points), supported by detailed prerequisite program, that is a set of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) and GHP (Good Hygiene Practice) requirements.

IFS Food applies when products are “processed” or whenever there is a hazard for product contamination during primary packaging. The Standard supports the production and marketing departments of companies in their efforts for brand safety and quality.

With the IFS audit report your company will get a realistic picture of your food safety and quality management system and it provides a basis from which to start the process of improvement.

Benefits of an IFS Food Standard Certification:

  • Provides legal defense in case of an incident;
  • Assists in the construction and operation of a management system capable of helping you to better meet food quality/safety requirements;
  • Retailer complaints are managed with regards to standard requirements (through the IFS Integrity Program);
  • Facilitates efficient management of food safety incidents e.g. product recall;
  • Efficient audit data management through advanced IT tools, such as the IFS Audit Portal and the Audit Report Tool;
  • IFS Food Certification helps avoid compliance confusion and prevents multiple audits.

The nearly 20 years of experience in the field have made Certima efficient, competent and trusted certification body for the IFS standards.