IFS Blog

Supply chain disruption through Ukraine crisis – Guidance for IFS Stakeholders

More and more the impact of the war in Ukraine on food supply chains is noticeable. The production and distribution of food and raw materials are severely disturbed. This extraordinary situation influences the supplier and raw materials management as well as customer specifications and recipe management in terms of allergen, GMO and labelling.

In response to this situation, IFS advises:

  • Certification Bodies to observe the guidelines of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) that IAF sent in its letter on 16 March and following updates from IAF. Especially we ask them to respect compliance with the United Nations and other applicable sanctions. IFS expects that every IFS contracting party adheres to these sanctions.
  • IFS certified sites to comprehensively document issues, decisions and measures taken and communicate with involved customers. This contributes to clarity and transparency regarding the necessary changes to maintain production and meet delivery obligations. Also, it is essential to have this comprehensive documentation available at the next IFS Assessment.
  • The comprehensive documentation should at least explain:
      • which objective bottlenecks exist in the supply chain and the measures you are taking (substitutes, etc.),
      • what the impact of these measures is. In particular, we advise considering the impact on the management of allergens and GMOs in your impact assessment (for example when switching from sunflower to soy
      • to what extent the measures do affect customer specifications, recipes, and packaging/labelling. If necessary, laboratory analyses should prove the safety of the products.

Also, we advise documenting the communication with your customers and other relevant parties

It will be possible to postpone IFS Assessments that cannot take place in Ukraine due to the war. In this case, the responsible certification body must use the "exceptional circumstances" tick box of the IFS Database. The system works the same as the "Corona" tick box: After ticking the box, the certificates remain visible for a more extended period. Also, retailers that have marked the supplier as "favourite" will receive an automatic notification. This solution also applies to companies close to the Ukrainian borders.

In general, certification bodies can now use the new tick box whenever performing an IFS Assessment is not possible due to exceptional circumstances like a pandemic with travel or access restrictions, environmental catastrophes, and severe political or economic circumstances. When using the tick box, it is essential also to provide the reason. Suppliers should also communicate with their customers.

We will keep our various stakeholders informed about new developments and policy updates.

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