IFS News

The PACsecure 3 Doctrine is published!

The newest version of the IFS PACsecure Standard came out in February 2024. Version 3 aligns with current market needs and comes with a new standard logo. IFS PACsecure 3 audits can start in July and become mandatory from October 2024.

The IFS PACsecure 3 Doctrine we published today provides answers to frequently asked technical questions and clarifies requirements.

Among other topics, this doctrine specifies:

  • Which IFS PACsecure version to apply in particular situations;
  • The calculation of the minimum audit duration;
  • The requirement regarding using interpreters and other professional services;
  • The management of COID for companies in specific situations;
  • Requirements regarding the approval of auditors and auditor conversion training;
  • The compulsory fields and additional information to be provided in the audit requirements; as well as
  • Additional clarifications regarding the information that must be added to the IFS Report and the IFS Database.

The doctrine is a normative document complementing the standard. Accordingly, it is essential for certified companies, auditors, certification bodies and other stakeholders to take knowledge of and follow the clarifications contained therein. 

The IFS PACsecure 3 doctrine is currently available in English only. 

Make sure to download the IFS PACsecure 3 doctrine before your next audit.


New Doctrine and Multisite Guideline for IFS Logistics 3

Two new normative documents for version 3 of the IFS Logistics Standard are now available. These documents complement the standard and are essential for certified companies, auditors, certification bodies, and other stakeholders to know.

    The IFS Logistics 3 Doctrine

    The doctrine provides answers to frequently asked technical questions and clarifies specific requirements. Among other topics, it specifies: 

    • Which IFS Logistics version to apply in particular situations;
    • The requirement for logistics companies organising transport without their own trucks;
    • The 50% on-site duration rule for companies organising transport/storage;
    • The case of a suspension or withdrawal of a certification body’s accreditation; 
    • The requirement regarding using interpreters and other professional services; 
    • Requirements regarding the approval of auditors and auditor conversion training;
    • The types of audits not accepted as sign-off audits, witness audits and for auditor scope extensions; as well as
    • The extraordinary information that certification bodies need to provide to IFS.

    The IFS Logistics Multi-site Guideline

    We updated this guideline to align with version 3 of the IFS Logistics Standard and accreditation requirements (IAF MD1:2023). 

    It applies only to companies with headquarters and multiple sites that fulfil specific criteria regarding the number of sites, activities, and other parameters. The guideline explains the requirements these companies must meet for a multi-site certification. It also describes the aspects certification bodies and those companies need to consider during the initial and recertification audits. 

    Download the Documents 

    Discover the essential information and valuable insights these documents provide:

    • Download the IFS Logistics 3 Doctrine version 1 here.
    • Download the updated IFS Logistics Multi-site Guideline here.

    The documents are available in English only. 


    The Broker 3.2 Doctrine is out now!

    We published the doctrine for IFS Broker 3.2. This document provides answers to frequently asked technical questions and clarifies requirements. 

      Among other topics, this doctrine specifies:  

      •     the requirement for extraordinary information that auditors need to provide  
      •     the calculation of the minimum audit duration 
      •     the timelines for the applicability of version 3.1.and 3.2 
      •     the management of COID for companies in specific situations 
      •     the conversion training for auditors 

      The doctrine is a normative document complementing the standard.  Accordingly, it is essential for certified companies, auditors, certification bodies and other stakeholders to take knowledge of and follow the clarifications contained therein. 

      The Broker 3.2 doctrine is currently available in English only. We will provide further translations at a later stage and inform you accordingly.   

      Make sure to download the IFS Broker 3.2 doctrine before your next audit. 


      IFS Logistics Achieves Recognition as IAF MLA Sub-Scope

      On 22 March 2024, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Featured Standards (IFS) signed an updated Scheme Endorsement Agreement to recognise the IFS Logistics standard under the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). The previous issue of the agreement, signed in April 2023, finalised the endorsement of IFS Food.

        IFS Logistics evaluates the quality and safety of logistics operations encompassing transport, storage, distribution, loading and unloading, and more. Certification bodies providing certification to this standard must be accredited by IAF MLA signatories, offering confidence that the above operations meet prescribed criteria.

        Under the Agreement, IFS Logistics will be recognised by IAF as an IAF MLA sub-scope under the main scope of Product Certification - ISO/IEC 17065. This recognition will ensure mutual recognition of accredited certification for the standard by IAF MLA signatories, allowing for the acceptance of accredited certificates in many markets based on one accreditation.

        “IAF is excited to announce the recognition of IFS Logistics as an IAF MLA sub-scope,” said IAF Chair Emanuele Riva. “This recognition will streamline market access and reduce trade barriers for companies holding IFS Logistics certification, aligning with our commitment to promoting safety and quality across various industries. With IFS Logistics joining IFS Food as a recognised scheme, we further advance our mission of facilitating global trade while upholding stringent requirements for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.”

        “Over 3,300 companies, including large international logistics services providers, hold IFS Logistics Certifications. Many retail, wholesale and food services companies trust IFS Logistics Certificates as they show that the company has established robust procedures and processes to deliver safe products to customers. With the IAF and its members, an independent body verifies that our standards meet all the required criteria. The recognition of IFS Food version 8 and IFS Logistics version 3 under the IAF MLA contributes significantly to our certificates being recognised and trusted worldwide,” said Stephan Tromp, IFS Managing Director. 

        The current scopes of the IAF MLA can be viewed here.

        About IAF:

        The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) is a global association of accreditation bodies, conformity assessment body associations and other organisations involved in conformity assessment in fields including validation and verification and the certification of management systems, products, processes, services, and persons.

        IAF promotes the worldwide acceptance of certificates of conformity and validation/verification statements issued by conformity assessment bodies accredited by IAF MLA signatories and seeks to add value for all stakeholders through its activities and programs.

        About IFS:

        IFS Management GmbH, owned by the French retail association FCD and the German retail association HDE, develops globally recognised product quality and safety standards and development programs for companies within the food and consumer goods supply chain companies. IFS comprises six different food and non-food standards and four development programs. These assess whether private label and branded product suppliers can deliver safe, quality products in line with regulations and customer specifications. In this way, IFS helps ensure that consumers can trust that the products they find on retail shelves are safe and of excellent quality.


        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


        IFS Progress – Actively developing product safety and quality processes

         It is now official: IFS Progress is the new brand name of our supplier development programs. The new name replaces IFS Global Markets, which will be phased out on 14 May 2024. 

        Since 2014, our development programs have been enabling suppliers to establish and develop appropriate processes to manage their product safety and quality. These programs are built on standardised requirements and structured in two levels. They help suppliers progress towards IFS Certification. IFS offers Progress Programs for suppliers of food products, logistics services, packaging materials and household and personal care (HPC) products. 

        IFS Progress represents the active approach of the development programs

        The new name, IFS Progress, fits perfectly with our understanding that our development programs, and just like our standards, help suppliers to continuously monitor, build, update and improve their products and processes to deliver safe, quality products that customers and consumers can trust. 

        With this brand name, we are emphasising the active approach and aim of the programs while their content remains the same. It stands for: 

        • Progressing within the current program level 
        • Progressing from level to level 
        • Progressing towards IFS Certification 

        Suppliers assessed to IFS Progress achieve the prerequisites for operating, growing, and developing steadily in a regional, national, and international environment and be accepted as trusted business partners.

        New name, new logos, same program content 

        The content of the development programs remains unchanged, and they stay in their current versions: IFS Progress Food version 3, IFS Progress Logistics version 1, IFS Progress PACsecure version 1 and IFS Progress HPC version 1. We have updated the logos, the program protocols, and other relevant documents with the new brand name. 

        Assessed businesses, certification bodies, assessment services providers and our other stakeholders will have sufficient time to integrate the name IFS Progress into their corporate processes and communication. Until 14 May 2024, IFS Global Markets may still be applied. We at IFS are using this transition period to update documents, IT tools, and training materials. 

        You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions in our fact sheet. Download it here in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese or Turkish.

        Let’s work together for product and food safety 

        The IFS Progress Programs are an essential stepping stone in the gradual development of robust processes for food and product safety of assessed suppliers. The assessment helps to build trust in supply chains. IFS offers tools, guidelines, and support so suppliers can reach their goals. Achieving those goals is a joint effort of everyone involved. 

        Let's work together to make food and products safer and support the continuous development and progress in this area!

         

        For more information about the IFS Progress Programs, the roadmap to the assessment and the support IFS offers, please visit the program webpages: 

        IFS Progress Food

        IFS Progress HPC

        IFS Progress Logistics

        IFS Progress PACsecure


        Discover what’s new in IFS Broker version 3.2

         

        We have updated the IFS Broker Standard and are thrilled to introduce version 3.2 today. Audits to this new version will become mandatory from 1 July 2024.

        More transparency through the IFS Star Status and updated Scoring System

        In IFS Broker 3.2, we introduce the star status, signaling that an audit was unannounced. Also, you will find updates in the scoring system. In particular, the B-score is now a deviation again, requiring a correction or corrective action. 

        These updates contribute to greater transparency as customers and other stakeholders of the audited company can easily recognise how the audit was carried out. Furthermore, the report shows which deviation led to the B-score and the action plan specifies what needs to be done to correct the deviation. This creates greater clarity for everyone involved.

        The update facilitates combined audits 

        As many IFS audits are combined audits with other IFS Standards, it was essential for us to align version 3.2 with the other updated IFS Standards, especially IFS Food 8 and IFS Logistics 3. The revisions significantly facilitate the performance of combined IFS Audits. 

        Leading retail, wholesale and food service companies trust IFS Broker Certification

        IFS Broker is the standard for auditing the service compliance of brokers, sales representatives, traders and importers of food, household and personal care products or packaging materials. It belongs to the leading standards for certifying quality and product safety in this sector. 

        Many retail, wholesale, and food service companies trust IFS Broker Certificates as they show that the certified company has established robust procedures and processes to trade products professionally and responsibly. Over 2,500 companies worldwide hold IFS Broker Certificates. 

        IFS-certified companies benefit from a unique support package

        IFS offers guidance, like guidelines and various tools, to support suppliers in reaching IFS Broker Certification and further enhancing product safety and quality management processes. 

        The IFS Software, auditXpress Neo, supports reporting the internal audit results. An update to IFS Broker 3.2 will become available before the audits to the new version start. 

        Approved IFS Training Providers offer training based on official IFS Materials and recognised IFS Consultants support businesses in implementing the requirements and training their staff.

        International recognition   

        The IFS Broker accreditation process is in progress with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) to be recognised under the sub-scopes of the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) product certification. IAF MLA signatories mutually recognise accredited certification. It helps to reduce barriers to trade as accredited certificates are recognised in many markets based on a single accreditation. Also, the benchmarking process with GFSI has started.  

        More information  

        IFS Broker version 3.2 is currently available in English only. Translations into our main languages will follow shortly. The doctrine for IFS Broker version 3.2 will also be published later. We will notify you of their publication in our newsletters, on our website or on LinkedIn. 

        Stay up to date:


        IFS PACsecure 3 – tailor-made for the packaging industry

        We have published the newest version of the IFS PACsecure Standard. It aligns with the current market needs and comes with a new standard logo.

        “Continuing our steadfast dedication to deliver standards of utmost value, we are pleased to introduce version 3 of the IFS PACsecure Standard. Our collaboration with industry experts, who rigorously review and enhance the information, ensures we are meeting the needs of our stakeholders. IFS PACsecure version 3 is aligned with the ever-changing market and is more user-friendly”, says IFS Managing Director Stephan Tromp. 

        The IFS PACsecure Standard is for auditing packaging material manufacturing and converting processes concerning product safety, quality, and customer and regulatory compliance. The standard is applicable for the production, processing or conversion of packaging components and materials intended to be used as primary or secondary packaging for food products and other consumer goods.

        Together with the packaging experts of PAC Global, IFS developed the first version of this standard in 2012, ensuring that it is tailor-made for the packaging industry. It has been the standard from the industry for the industry from the very beginning. 

        Audits, according to IFS PACsecure version 3, are possible from 1 July 2024 and become mandatory on 1 October 2024.

        IFS offers certified companies a unique support package

        IFS offers guidance, like guidelines and various tools, to support suppliers in reaching IFS PACsecure Certification and further enhancing their product safety and quality management processes. Approved IFS Training Providers offer training based on official IFS Materials, and recognised IFS Consultants support businesses with implementing the requirements and training staff. 

        Companies interested in gradually developing product safety and quality processes can start with the IFS Global Markets PACsecure Program. The program is built on standardised requirements and structured in two levels. It helps you progress towards IFS Certification within a defined time frame. 

        International recognition

        The IFS PACsecure version 3 accreditation process is in progress with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) 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 as accredited certificates are recognised in many markets based on a single accreditation. Also, the benchmarking process with GFSI has started. 

        More information

        IFS PACsecure version 3 is currently available in English only. Translations will come later, and we will inform you about them on LinkedIn and in our regular newsletters. 

        For more details: 

        Berlin, 21 February 2024


        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 Logistics version 3 is now available!

        IFS Logistics version 3 – Made to meet the current needs of the market

        We are happy to announce the publication of the IFS Logistics Standard version 3. This IFS Standard assesses the quality and safety of logistics activities and includes transport, storage, distribution, loading and unloading, and more.

        “With IFS Logistics version 3, we present a standard updated to current regulations, market expectations and the latest trends. IFS has developed this version with international experts from the logistics sector, food industries, retail and wholesale companies, and certification bodies. Their input and expertise ensure that the requirements meet the market’s needs. I thank everyone who has contributed to realising this new version”, says IFS Managing Director Stephan Tromp.

        Optimised certification processes with IFS Logistics version 3

        IFS Logistics version 3 has fewer requirements and an optimised protocol and structure. Further updates concern the scoring system, extensions and clarifications in the scopes, and the introduction of the star status to indicate an unannounced audit. It is now aligned with the IFS Food Standard version 8, which is relevant for combined audits.

        “We took many suggestions from the logistics industry to make it more efficient for all stakeholders to work with the IFS Logistics Standard. I am positive that the optimised processes, workflow, and other updates will contribute to that”, states Mariana Estrada, IFS Logistics Standard Manager, about the new standard version.

        IFS Logistics version 3 audits are possible starting 1 June 2024 and become mandatory on 1 December 2024.

        IFS Logistics is widely used and accepted

        Many retail, wholesale and food services companies trust IFS Logistics Certificates as they show that the company has established robust procedures and processes to handle their products professionally and responsibly. Over 3,300 companies, including large international logistics services providers, hold IFS Logistics Certifications.

        IFS-certified companies benefit from a unique support package

        IFS offers guidance, like guidelines and various tools, to support suppliers in reaching IFS Logistics Certification and further enhancing their product safety and quality management processes. Approved IFS Training Providers offer training based on official IFS Materials and recognised IFS Consultants support businesses with implementing the requirements and training staff.

        The IFS Global Markets Logistics program helps logistics companies develop product safety and quality processes gradually.

        International recognition

        The IFS Logistics version 3 accreditation process is in progress with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) 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 as accredited certificates are recognised in many markets based on a single accreditation. Also, the benchmarking process with GFSI has started.

        More information

        IFS Logistics version 3 is currently available in English only. Translations will come later, and we will inform you about them as soon as they are available.

        For more information about the IFS Logistics Standard, please visit the IFS Logistics webpage.

        For all significant information about IFS Logisitics version 3, read the whole newsletter here.


        IFS Certification Body Conference 2023

        Connecting Certification Bodies worldwide!

        On 16 and 17 October 2023, we welcomed over 200 participants to our Certification Body Conference in Berlin and to our live stream.

        The annual IFS CB Conference brings together representatives of IFS-approved certification bodies from around the world. The 2-day conference programme consisted of a wide range of informative sessions. IFS Team Members delved into various aspects of certification, including updated standards, new programs and the latest company developments.

        This year, we were happy to welcome two outstanding keynote speakers. Robert Prevendar, Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance at Yum! Brands, and Dr Jean-Charles Gander, Chief Quality Officer at the Migros Group, shared insights into their companies’ policies and the role IFS Certification plays in this context. 

        The number of certification bodies we work with is constantly growing worldwide. If you are interested in joining our CB network, read more here.

        We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this event and look forward to welcoming the CBs back to Berlin next year.


        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.


        New doctrine for HPC version 3!

        We recently published the doctrine for IFS HPC version 3. In this document, we answer frequently asked technical questions and give clarifications about the requirements.

        The doctrine is a normative document 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 audit to version 2 can be accepted after 1 September 2023.  


        Make sure to download the doctrine for IFS HPC version 3 before your next 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.

         


        Our updated IFS Packaging Guideline is now available!

        Packaging plays a significant role in keeping food safe as it travels through the supply chain. It is crucial that the packaging is suitable for its intended use, especially now as new bio-based and recycled materials and technologies emerge to support sustainability efforts.

        The new IFS Packaging Guideline helps food companies to identify potential risks and ensure their packaging is safe. It is a supporting document with the goal of improving the communication and cooperation between IFS certified companies and their packaging suppliers.

        In this second updated version of the guideline, you can find a practical approach with:

        1. A explanation of supply chain communication and responsibilities of the parties involved
        2. An overview and update regarding EU legislation and general definitions
        3. A explanation of related IFS Requirements and questions auditors might ask
        4. A step-by-step guidance of the food manufacturer’s compliance work
        5. New sustainability aspects following the European Union’s „Green Deal”
        6. An updated detailed example checklist for the evaluation of the declaration of compliance

        We thank our colleagues Irmtraut Rathjens de Suster, Konstantina Papastamopoulou and Cheryl Sullivan for their great and hard work in realising this new guideline version. Our special thanks go to Thomas Gude from SQTS, Switzerland, whose experience, knowledge, and insights have made this guideline possible. We would also like to thank the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V. and all other contributors for their valuable contributions and additional comments.

        Get the new IFS Packaging Guideline. It is currently only available in English.

         


        IAF and IFS Sign Scheme Endorsement Agreement

        The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and IFS Management GmbH have signed a Scheme Endorsement Agreement to endorse the IFS Food scheme as a sub-scope of the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). The agreement was signed April 2023.

        IFS Food aims to ensure the safety and quality of food products and processes, and is applicable to food processing companies and businesses that pack loose food products. The scheme covers senior management responsibility, quality and food safety management systems, resource management, planning and production processes, measurements, analysis, improvements, and food defense. It can provide several benefits to companies, including improved business reputation, compliance with regulations, higher flexibility, more effective use of resources, and the ability to trade with customers requiring third-party audits.

        The recognition of IFS Food as an IAF MLA sub-scope will allow the acceptance of accredited certification to this scheme in multiple markets with only one accreditation, reducing costs and increasing value for businesses and consumers.

        “The recognition of IFS Food as an IAF MLA sub-scope underscores the importance of reliable and consistent food safety practices in the international market. This recognition will enable businesses to demonstrate their competence and enhance consumer confidence, ultimately leading to safer and higher-quality food products for all,” said Emanuele Riva, IAF Chair.

        “Our global network places great emphasis on the integrity of our standards. IFS is a global pioneer in establishing an integrity program and select and training auditors, who must pass a written and oral exam with us. Accreditation plays an essential role in ensuring integrity. With the IAF and its members, an independent body verifies that our standards meet all the required criteria. The recognition of IFS Food versions 7 and 8 under the IAF MLA contributes significantly to our certificates being recognized and trusted worldwide,” said Stephan Tromp, IFS Managing Director.

        About IAF:

        The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) is a global association of accreditation bodies, conformity assessment body associations and other organizations involved in conformity assessment in fields including validation and verification and the certification of management systems, products, processes, services and persons.

        IAF promotes the worldwide acceptance of certificates of conformity and validation/verification statements issued by conformity assessment bodies accredited by IAF MLA signatories, and seeks to add value for all stakeholders through its activities and programs.

        About IFS:

        IFS Management GmbH, owned by the retail associations HDE and FCD, develops globally recognized product quality and safety standards and development programs for companies within the food and consumer goods supply chain. IFS comprises six different food and non-food standards and four development programs. These assess if private label and branded product suppliers can deliver safe, quality products in line with regulations and customer specifications. This way, IFS helps ensure that consumers can trust that the products they find on retail shelves are safe and of good quality.


        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.


        IFS Website now available in French, German, Italian and Spanish!

        We have recently launched our completely redesigned website. Today, we are happy to share that it is now available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The new website will automatically appear in the language of the respective country you are in.

        Following up on our news from 28 March, we would like to take this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions about the new website.

        How can I find a specific document in my language?

        The easiest way to find a document is to use the document hub on the homepage. It is our central and free library from which you can download all publicly available IFS Documents relating to our current standards, programs, checks, and other relevant topics.

        The best way to search is to use the dropdown menus in the search boxes. For example, to find the IFS Food Standard in Polish, choose Food from the standard menu, Standard as document type and Polish as the language.

        Learn more about it in the IFS Document Hub Fact Sheet.

        Can I search for documents on the standard and program pages?

        We will integrate the document hub on the standard and program pages to make searching relevant documents more efficient.  The default settings will be set to the corresponding language and standard/program on the French, German, Italian and Spanish pages. On the English pages, you will be able to change the language settings.

        Where can I find the directory of certification bodies, consultants, and training providers?

        This information is located on the standard and program pages under the following headings:

        • “Train” directs you to the training providers page
        • “Implement” provides a search for recognised IFS Consultants
        • “Audit/Assess” contains a search for certification bodies and assessment services providers.

        Each standard and program page offers a “one-stop shop” in which you can access all the relevant information and documents and locate our partners immediately.

        Where do I find the audit time calculation tool?

        The audit time calculation tool has moved from the website to the IFS Software. It is integrated into the IFS auditXpressX and the new auditXpress Neo software. We provide the software free of charge to certified and global markets assessed companies, consultants, and CBs. You will find it in your login area of the IFS Database.

        [Update, 30.11.2023] We also provide an online audit time calculator again. You can access it here.

        How do I reach the qualification platforms?

        Information and login links to our various qualification platforms have changed. You will find them at the top of the standard and program pages or in the special areas for consultants and training providers.

        More is yet to come! We continue to optimise the site based on the feedback we are receiving. It will get new features as we look to expand our services further.

         


        Discover the new IFS Website!

        We are glad to announce that we have completely redesigned our website. It now has a clear, modern, and well-organised look. The intuitive layout and simplified navigation will help you find relevant information within two clicks.



        Quickly find information about the IFS Standards and Programs

        You can directly go to the standard and program pages from the homepage. Here, you will find a short description of the standard or program, its benefits, relevant downloads, a roadmap to certification, an overview of the support IFS, and specific news.




        Get all documents in one place

        You will discover a handy new feature on the new website – the IFS Document Hub. It is our central and free library from which you can download all documents relating to our current standards, programs, checks, and other relevant topics. You can refine your search by name, standard, type and language.



        Find specific information on designated pages

        We have designated areas to provide certification bodies, auditors, consultants and training providers with specific information.







        Further languages will follow soon

        For now, the new website is in English only. However, the documents, such as standards, programs, doctrines, factsheets, and guidelines, are available in multiple languages. Find them easily in the document hub on the homepage.

        After a 4 to 6 weeks testing phase, we will upload the website in French, German, Italian and Spanish. Here, we kindly ask for your patience and understanding. Meanwhile, you may want to use the automatic translation function of your web browser to translate the web pages.

        More is yet to come!

        We have reached a significant milestone with the launch of the new site. Still, it remains a work in progress. In addition to the translations, which have priority, the website will get new features as we look to expand our services further.


        IFS welcomes the lifting of the suspension by GFSI

        The suspension of IFS as well as this week’s upholding of the suspension are unfounded and arbitrary.

        We provided GFSI with all the necessary information on the case in Italy, underwent an audit with the GFSI benchmark leader on 3 March 2023 and always fulfilled the GFSI benchmarking requirements. We therefore welcome today’s decision of the GFSI Steering Committee to reinstate IFS as a GFSI-recognised CPO.

        Nevertheless, IFS has considered the suspension of the benchmark by GFSI as unfounded and arbitrary. It has unsettled many IFS-certified companies and has not contributed to food safety. We have always worked to ensure that their customers continue to recognise IFS Certificates and are grateful for the trust placed in us by our global network.

        In the interest of all CPOs, certification bodies, certified companies and other stakeholders, we would like to see GFSI revise its governance rules to ensure that basic democratic principles are respected, procedures are transparent and fair, and rules are adhered to by all participants in the future. We all want to work for the cause of food safety, taking into account the different needs and approaches of all stakeholders.

         

         


        Statement on the GFSI decision to maintain the suspension of IFS

        The suspension of IFS as well as this week’s upholding of the suspension are unfounded and arbitrary.

        From the very beginning, the suspension decision was based on false facts. In its suspension decision GFSI claimed that "IFS shared limited information on actions taken by the CB, the manufacturing site and the outcome of the regulatory investigation."

        This reasoning is not correct and has been objected by IFS with its appeal. Thus, IFS had sent e-mails on 30 September, 4 October, 6 October, 12 October  and 17 October with information about the case to GFSI. Furthermore, the e-mail from IFS from 17 October 2022, that contained a number of important pieces of information about the case, was not taken into account when deciding about the suspension. In addition, GFSI also incorrectly stated that IFS did not respond to GFSI reminders on 13 October and 24 October 2022.

        Although IFS considers the suspension by GFSI to be unlawful and arbitrary and has appealed against it, IFS has already responded to all remedies - both those imposed by the suspension decision and the additional ones imposed on 13 January 2023 and 7 February 2023. were imposed after that the first was met.

        Nonetheless, GFSI has maintained the suspension of IFS without giving any reason or explanation to IFS or the public that has been informed by GFSI through its website. By posting the suspension on its website without giving a reason, the GFSI is violating its own regulations.

        We deplore this situation and deeply regret the confusion it creates. 

        IFS assures that the 23000+ active IFS Certificates will continue to be accepted by European retailers and wholesalers as well as by IFS Partners from retail, wholesale, industry and food service all over the world.

        Our 82 approved accredited certification bodies and their 1300+ auditors around the world are operating with no obstacle to ensure business continuity and make sure your audits are undertaken on time and that your certificates are valid and gives your customers trust and confidence in your food safety management systems.

        Our priority is to keep the certification programs ongoing and protect the certificates awarded by the IFS Certification Bodies.

        We are at your disposal with our entire team to answer all your questions.

         

         

         


        IFS Global Markets Food version 3 is now released!

        Today, we are happy to announce the publication of IFS Global Markets Food version 3.

        It is a development program that helps food suppliers gradually build comprehensive food safety and quality processes. Together with their customers, they can set the path towards IFS Certification, including the pace and milestones.

        “With IFS Global Markets Food, we offer companies an easy entry into adequate product safety and quality processes. Version 3 of this development program is now aligned with the IFS Product and Process Approach, strengthening it as a pre-stage to IFS Certification. It is unique to IFS that we offer global markets assessed companies a wide range of free guidelines and supportive tools so that they can continuously strengthen your safety and quality management.”, says IFS Managing Director, Stephan Tromp, about the latest edition of IFS Global Markets Food.

        In the new version of the program, we improved the various prerequisites for developing product safety and quality processes to make reaching the goal of IFS Certification more accessible and efficient. The alignment to the Food Standard and IFS Product and Process Approach supports this. We are also introducing new and revised requirements to ensure compliance with legal requirements and essential issues, as well as to improve the implementation of food safety and quality management processes.

        The IFS offers guidance and support, like guidelines and tools, to support companies in their development and assessment process. Especially the IFS Pathway platform helps them start with food safety and quality management and get on the way to IFS Certification. Also, approved IFS Training Providers offer training based on IFS Materials and recognised IFS Consultants can support you with the implementation of the requirements.

        Please find the program and other documents here.

         

         


        IFS HPC version 3 is out!

        Today, we are happy to announce the publication of IFS HPC version 3. It is our standard for assessing the safety and quality management system and production processes of household and personal care products.

        “Consumers’ expectations of the quality and product safety of household and personal care products have increased in recent years. Health and safety issues have created a desire for more transparency in production and the supply chain. The IFS HPC is the standard developed to build more confidence in the market. With the new version 3, we offer an improved approach to assessing a company’s product safety and quality management”, says IFS Managing Director, Stephan Tromp, about the latest edition of IFS HPC.

        The new version of the standard provides an updated approach to assessing a company’s product safety and quality management, including customer specifications. Its focus on assessing topical issues for the HPC industry, like hazard analysis, risk assessment, allergen risk mitigation, product safety culture, and product specifications, clearly demonstrates the objectives of the new IFS HPC Standard.

        IFS provides guidance and support, such as guidelines and tools, to support companies with their certification. In addition, approved IFS Training Providers offer training based on IFS Materials, and recognised IFS Consultants can support you in implementing the requirements.

        Please find the standard and other documents here.

         


        Update on GFSI suspension and answers to FAQ

        The decision by GFSI to suspend IFS has caused uncertainty in the market and raises many questions.

        IFS will follow the appeal procedure and has handed over the case to its lawyer. For this reason, we cannot share details at this moment. However, we want to state again that the reason is a communication misunderstanding, not a food safety issue. Also, we would like to emphasise that this suspension does not affect the validity of the certificates.

        Just like many others, we were surprised by the GFSI’s action. On 8 December at 11:47 pm we were informed by email of the suspension and about its publication on 9 December. We, therefore, had no time to prepare information for the CBs and IFS-certified companies.

        Initially, our main concern was to ensure that our certificates would continue to be accepted to prevent damage to suppliers as far as possible. The retail and wholesale companies in our network have indicated to us that they will do so and will inform their suppliers accordingly.


        Important Notification about GFSI suspension


        Today GFSI has publicly announced, without explanation to the public, that the IFS GFSI benchmark is suspended for three months.

        This has nothing to do with the validity of existing IFS Certificates.

        From our point of view there is no professional food safety reasons for the suspension which we will prove in our Appeal. Rather, we believe that the reasons for the suspension lie in the strained relationship between IFS and GFSI, as IFS has had the legality of the GFSI race-to-the-top reviewed by the Federal Cartel Office under antitrust and competition law.

        IFS had invited GFSI to the IFS Board for clarification, but GFSI refused and is now pursuing a confrontational path, which we very much regret.

        With this suspension, GFSI calls into question the integrity of the IFS. The IFS will therefore take legal action against GFSI's activities and has already referred the case to its lawyer.

        Finally, we would like to let you know that all IFS Certificates are still valid and that the retailers and wholesalers from the IFS Network have clearly informed us that these certificates will also be recognised during the GFSI suspension.


        Our updated IFS Pest Control Guideline is now available!

        The IFS Pest Control Guideline is a supporting document with the goal to improve the communication between IFS certified companies and their pest management professionals.

        In this completely revised second version of the guideline, you can await explanations on some new aspects of pest management.

        1. We introduce aspects of sustainability and digitisation following the European Union’s „Green Deal”.

        2. We explain Integrated Pest Management principles and provide examples.

        3. We present new innovative tools and techniques for pest management.

        4. We analyse the pest management related IFS Requirements and provide questions auditors might ask.

        5. We added an example of a detailed risk assessment for different pests.

        Integrated Pest Management is a new requirement of the European Commission to reduce the risk of chemical pesticides by half. Pesticides for pest control can continue to be used with better consideration for people and the environment.

        We thank our colleague Irmtraut Rathjens de Suster for her great and hard work in realising this new guideline version. Our special thanks go to Daniel Schroeer from Futura GmbH, whose experience, knowledge and insights have made this guideline possible, which provides a practical approach to implementing the principles of plant protection. We would also like to thank ANID (Associazione Nazionale delle Imprese di Disinfestazione) for their valuable contributions and additional comments. This guideline is published in cooperation with QS Qualität und Sicherheit GmbH.

        The guideline is currently only available in English, further languages will follow soon.


        El nuevo IFS ESG Check

        ESG Check: IFS apoya a las empresas en su camino hacia una mejor sostenibilidad

        • La autoevaluación verificada ayuda a las pequeñas y medianas empresas a evaluar sus actuales prácticas de gestión de la sostenibilidad
        • El modelo facilita la transición a la protección activa del clima en las empresas

        Berlín, 07.07.2022. La industria alimentaria se enfrenta a un reto complejo a la hora de hacer más sostenibles sus procesos, estructuras y modelos de negocio. Por esta razón, IFS, propietario de las normas norma de seguridad y calidad de producto, aplicadas a nivel mundial, ha desarrollado el IFS ESG Check. Este programa ayuda a las pequeñas y medianas empresas a determinar su propio status quo individual en relación a la sostenibilidad integrando criterios ASG.  La autoevaluación verificada crea una base importante para que las empresas tomen medidas más concretas en el camino hacia una mejor sostenibilidad.

        Casi ningún otro tema sostenible preocupa tanto a los ciudadanos como el cambio climático. Este es el resultado de un estudio realizado por el Banco Europeo de Inversiones en 27 países. La sostenibilidad desempeña un papel crucial en la industria alimentaria en particular, ya que la demanda mundial de alimentos está aumentando mientras que la producción y las cadenas de suministro generan emisiones adicionales de CO2. Para combatirlo, se están haciendo esfuerzos en todo el mundo para consagrar en la legislación nuevos requisitos para la producción sostenible de alimentos. Entre estos esfuerzos contamos con el programa "Pacto Verde (Green Deal)" de la Comisión Europea, cuyo objetivo es que el continente sea climáticamente neutro para el año 2050.  La Unión Europea está adoptando una posición pionera en este tema.

        Sin embargo, para que las pequeñas y medianas empresas tomen la iniciativa y sean más sostenibles, se necesita orientación. IFS - International Featured Standards - ha desarrollado el IFS ESG Check exactamente por esta razón: para ayudar a las empresas a comprender la sostenibilidad de sus propias prácticas y operaciones y a integrar los principios ambientales, sociales y de gobernanza (ASG). IFS es conocido como un socio de confianza por más de 30.000 empresas certificadas.

        "El IFS ESG Check ayuda a registrar la implicación en cuestiones ambientales, sociales y de gobernanza en las pequeñas y medianas empresas, guiando así a las empresas en la siguiente fase de su crecimiento", afirma Stephan Tromp, Director General de IFS Management GmbH. "El IFS ESG Check crea la base sobre la que las empresas pueden alinear su gestión de la sostenibilidad, identificar los riesgos y planificar su posterior compromiso".

        La autoevaluación capta el statu quo e identifica las oportunidades para ponerse al día

        Al rellenar la autoevaluación, las empresas determinan su situación actual y su status quo. En el siguiente paso, un auditor verifica la información dada por parte de la empresa. Esta combinación única de autoevaluación y verificación garantiza que los datos sean sólidos y fiables. 

        Los datos recopilados pueden utilizarse en consulta con el cliente para planificar los próximos pasos y tomar medidas para mejorar la gestión de la sostenibilidad e identificar el potencial adicional para hacer más sostenibles las operaciones de la empresa. Además, el IFS ESG Check hace que el seguimiento del progreso y el éxito sean más fáciles y visibles. Es posible combinar el IFS ESG Check con una auditoría tradicional de certificación IFS.

        El módulo básico del IFS ESG Check, se centra en la implementación del "sistema de gestión de la sostenibilidad" de una empresa. Se tiene en cuenta la política de sostenibilidad de la empresa, el compromiso de la alta dirección con sus propios objetivos de sostenibilidad, así como cualquier marco asociado y adecuado. El otro módulo, Huella de Carbono (Carbon Footprint), ofrece a las empresas la oportunidad adaptar su sistema de gestión para trabajar con datos relacionados con las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI), determinar su propia huella de carbono y actividades de reducción.

        Además, IFS ha colaborado con natureOffice, una empresa de consultoría en temas de sostenibilidad ambiental, para el desarrollo de una herramienta de cálculo voluntaria.

        Para preparar el IFS ESG Check, IFS ofrece a las empresas una formación orientada a la práctica. Para ello, IFS trabaja en exclusiva con Impact Buying BV, una "B Corporation" especializada en el análisis, el asesoramiento y la formación sobre cadenas de suministro sostenibles. 

        En el futuro, IFS ayudará a los clientes a determinar su propia posición de forma aún más precisa con nuevos módulos. Como socio fiable, IFS seguirá ayudando a las empresas a impulsar su transformación sostenible y a acelerar el cambio en la sociedad. Los que saben dónde están hoy pueden definir mejor dónde estarán mañana.

        Para más información, pulse aquí: www.ifs-esgcheck.com