Food

The IFS Food Standard reviews the products and production processes to evaluate a food producer’s ability to produce safe, authentic, and quality products according to legal requirements and customer specifications.
It supports businesses in meeting the growing transparency and traceability demands in the market and contributes to improving product

integrity and increasing efficiency. Qualified IFS Auditors working for independent accredited certification bodies carry out the audits.
IFS Standards are subject to assessments by governmental or private organisations. Read more about accreditation and recognition of the IFS Food Standard here.

Benefits

  • IFS Certification grows sales
  • The requirements reduce operating costs and increase efficiency
  • The scoring system drives continuous improvement
  • The IFS risk-based approach enables individual risk assessments
  • The non-prescriptive approach allows custom-made solutions
Download the factsheet for more details

IFS Food Document Hub

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Roadmap to certification

Train

For industry training, IFS cooperates with approved training providers. Also, we offer e-learning courses in English in our webshop.

Approved IFS Training Providers offer official training for IFS Standards and Programs, internal auditing, hazard analysis, risk assessments or specific technical topics.

IFS exclusively provides the training material for these courses. This way, you can be sure that only these providers will teach you how to implement IFS requirements according to their original intention. Only our approved training providers may use the IFS Academy Logo.

The training takes place online as group and individual courses or in person and on-site.

Click here to find an IFS Training Provider in your country.

Implement

You can implement the IFS Requirements on your own or tap into the expertise, knowledge, and experience of a recognised IFS Consultant.

IFS supports you with a unique package of various tools and guiding documents (see below). Also, you can contact an IFS Representative in your region or country for advice.

Recognised IFS Consultants are industry professionals offering training, standard knowledge, internal auditing, and industry experience to guide the implementation of the IFS Requirements. IFS has trained these consultants and regularly informs them about updates and other relevant developments regarding the standards and programs. You can be sure that you will work with an excellently trained, up to date and experienced professional when choosing a recognised IFS Consultant.

Search for the most suitable consultant for your company in your region in our consultant search.

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Audit

Approved IFS Certification Bodies (CBs) provide auditing services to companies seeking IFS Certification. Their IFS Auditors perform certification audits.

The IFS Food Audit takes place annually, and at least once every third audit must be conducted unannounced. The Star Status indicates the successful passing of an unannounced audit. IFS also offers an unannounced Food Safety Check.

We firmly believe that solid auditor competence is the basis for the IFS Standards' credibility and reliability. All IFS Auditors must meet specific requirements, pass the relevant IFS Exam, and participate in an IFS Calibration Training every two years. This way, we ensure that IFS Auditors worldwide assess companies in a consistent manner.

  • Read more about Food Safety Checks here.
  • Read more about IFS Auditor Management here.
  • Use the search function to find a certification body in your country.

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Support for IFS certified sites

Database

Connect with the IFS Network to grow your business. As a certified business, you can log in to the IFS Database to follow suppliers and search for new ones. Also, your company is visible to potential new customers and business partners.

Software

Simplify your internal auditing with the IFS Software. Use the same software as the IFS Auditor to evaluate your product safety and quality management system efficiently. Get score results to assess areas for improvement and create internal audit reports. You can download the software from your IFS Database login area.

App

Document the findings of your internal audit with the IFS Audit Manager app. The app offers checklists, templates and audit planning features. Save time and easily identify gaps in your system, share findings with colleagues, and get the results to see your compliance level.

Supporting Documents

IFS Guidelines and Checklists help you with practical advice on specific technical topics. Prepare for the audit/assessment with guidance documents explaining the intention of the requirements and giving examples of auditor questions. Go to the document hub and search for guidelines to get an overview. 

Risk Management

Monitor food raw material safety risks with the IFS Trend Risk Monitor and Word Cloud. Identify food fraud issues and customise your dashboard to follow trends of interest. Receive the IFS Trend Risk Report, a monthly overview of worldwide data published. Learn more about the IFS Risk Management here.

Pathway

Strengthen your product safety and quality management skills. For certified businesses, the IFS Pathway offers a technical library and various practical resources to deepen your knowledge about specific technical topics.

IFS News

New IFS Food 8 Doctrine

We updated the IFS Food 8 doctrine. In its third version, we further specify the following part 2 requirements: 

  • Requirement 4.4.1. on specific procedures for the procurement of animals, fish, and seafood subject to the control of prohibited substances.
  • Requirement 4.18.11 on the traceability of all edible parts of the carcass, including blood, before they are deemed fit for human consumption in the case of animal slaughterhouses. 

The doctrine is a normative document complementing the standard. Accordingly, companies, certification bodies and auditors must be aware of its content. 

The doctrine document is currently available in English only. We will provide translations later and inform you accordingly. 

Download the IFS Food 8 Doctrine version 3


New IFS Food 8 Doctrine and Audit Checklist Guideline

We are excited to share two new publications with you that will help you prepare for the IFS Food 8 Audit. Discover the essential information and valuable insights they hold.

IFS Food 8 Doctrine version 2 

We updated the IFS Food 8 Doctrine. It is a normative document complementing the standard. Accordingly, companies, certification bodies and auditors must be aware of its content before the next audit. The current update clarifies the following requirements:  

  • Part 1, 1.2.1.1 on the use of a professional interpreting service provider. 
  • Part 3, 3.1.1.1 on the suspension or withdrawal of the accreditation of a certification body. 
  • Part 4, 4.2.1.1 on using the COID for companies in some specific cases.

IFS Food 8 Audit Checklist Guideline 

This guideline enhances your understanding of the IFS Food Requirements as well as their intention and background. It gives you hands-on advice and contains valuable references. 

For every chapter, the guideline offers you a selection of 

  • applicable European legislation, 
  • references to legislation in other parts of the world, 
  • and other helpful documents. 

For each requirement according to part 2 of the IFS Food 8 Standard (Audit Checklist), you will find 

  • examples of good practices, 
  • typical auditor questions, 
  • elements an auditor should check, 
  • and examples of non-conformities, Majors and KOs.

The guideline has an explanatory, supportive character and is not normative. It will equip companies with the same know-how as the auditors. 

Download the documents 

Benefit from these sources of expertise and be well-prepared for your next audit. 

  • Download the IFS Food 8 Doctrine version 2 here
  • Download the updated IFS Food 8 Audit Checklist Guideline here

IFS Food 8 audits can start now

It is now possible to perform audits according to IFS Food version 8. For a period of three months, it is possible to perform an audit to either version 7 or version 8. IFS Food 8 audits will become mandatory for all certified companies from 1 January 2024. 

The applicability of version 7 ends on 31 December 2023; only in exceptional cases may they be performed after this date. These exceptions are specified in the current IFS Food Doctrines for version 7 and version 8.

The update of the IFS Software auditXpress Neo (AXP Neo) for IFS Food 8 is already available. It significantly facilitates the reporting of internal audits and is free of charge. The new software is fast, intuitive, and clearly arranged. It facilitates the collaboration between audited companies and the certification body, that uses the same software.

Businesses certified to the IFS Food Standard find AXP Neo for downloading in the login area of the IFS Database. We have also made this software available to CBs approved for IFS Food and auditors who did the version 8 conversion training. 

On our IFS YouTube channel, you can watch our video that gives you an overview of the most important changes in version 8 compared to version 7. For more details, download the IFS Food version 7 and version 8 comparison document.

The IFS Food Standard page provides all relevant information about the standard, the roadmap to certification and all relevant documents for downloading from the document hub. Be sure to visit this page to be excellently prepared for your first IFS Food 8 audit.


Check the technical clarifications in the new IFS Food Doctrines

We recently published the doctrines for IFS Food version 7 and version 8.

In these documents, we answer frequently asked technical questions and give clarifications about the requirements. The doctrines are normative documents complementing the standard. Accordingly, companies, certification bodies and auditors must follow the clarifications contained therein.

Among other topics, you will find more details regarding specific exceptional situations in which the assessment to version 7 can be accepted after 1 January 2024. Also, we clarified the information you need to provide in the extraordinary information form related to IFS Food 8 requirement 1.2.6.

Make sure to download the doctrine for IFS Food version 7 and for IFS Food version 8 before your next audit. The IFS Food version 8 doctrine is also available in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

 


IFS Food version 8 - setting new standards in food safety certification

Today, we are happy to announce the publication of IFS Food version 8. The IFS Food Standard reviews the products and production processes to evaluate a food producer’s ability to produce safe, authentic, and quality products according to legal requirements and customer specifications.

“IFS Food version 8 is the result of a remarkable, global team effort. We have taken up the feedback from our global network and updated the standard to current events and expectations in the broad field of food safety. Many renowned experts from retailers, food producers and certification bodies in our committees and working groups have contributed their expertise to further optimise the standard according to the needs of the market. I am convinced that version 8 sets a new standard and will contribute to establishing a vivid food safety culture”, says Stephan Tromp, IFS Managing Director.

 

The new version is state of the art in terms of food safety

In this new version, you will find an optimised protocol, a new definition of the B-scoring, and the introduction of a star status to highlight unannounced audits. These updates facilitate efficient working with the standard for all parties involved.

“The IFS Food Standard is designed to promote continuous improvement of the companies certified to it. Accordingly, we at IFS have the ambition to continually adapt and enhance it further. This way, our certified companies and other stakeholders can rely on us to be in tune with the latest developments”, adds Chryssa Dimitriadis, Director of Standard Management at IFS.

 

21 years of providing high-quality, widely accepted and trusted standards

We launched the first IFS Food Standard 21 years ago. Having over 20,000 IFS Food Certificates today, IFS has become a leading standard worldwide and the market leader in Europe. As a joint venture of two leading retail associations, major retail and wholesale companies trust our standards fit their specific needs. Also, key food services companies are convinced of the quality of our standards and work with us. They all know that we set the highest standards in auditor qualification and have a strong and consistent integrity program. It contributes to the high quality and reliability of our certification. Also, it ensures that consumers find safe and good quality private label products in their stores.

 

IFS-certified companies benefit from a unique support package

IFS offers guidance, like guidelines and various tools, to support suppliers in reaching IFS Food Certification and further enhancing their food safety and quality management. Approved IFS Training Providers offer training based on IFS Materials, and recognised IFS Consultants can support you with implementing the requirements and training your staff.

 

International recognition

IFS Food version 8 accreditation process is in progress with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) in order to be recognised under the sub-scopes of product certification of the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). IAF MLA signatories mutually recognise accredited certification. It helps to reduce barriers to trade and promote food safety, as accredited certificates are recognised in many markets based on a single accreditation.

IFS also has started the application procedure with GFSI and hopes to achieve recognition to the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements for IFS Food version 8 soon.

 

More information

The standard is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish on our website. We will provide further translations at a later stage and inform you accordingly.

For more information about the IFS Food Standard, please visit our IFS Food page.
For all significant information about Food version 8, read the whole newsletter here.

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