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.