Hello, my name is Kevin Borchers and I am working as a student assistant for the IFS since May 2017. My key task is the support of the IFS Academy in the creation of online training courses for auditors, quality manager and consultants.
I enjoy my work for the IFS, because I have the chance to work together with many competent experts who all work towards the goal of improving food quality and safety.
As I am studying food science and technology in my masters, I already learned the fundamentals of quality management and I got to know the basics of the IFS. Though, I could not imagine the extent of the IFS certification worldwide. There are more than 22.000 certificates awarded every year – and it is still growing!
Many of my fellow students from university only thought of the IFS Food standard when I told them about my work at the IFS. I told them that now, the IFS includes already six different standards and two programs, for example in the area of broker or logistic activities. Overall, all of them show a steady growth within the last years. The high number of certificates within the different IFS standards shows that there is a high demand for uniform quality and safety standards by industry and retailers.
The International Featured Standards comprise six standards; IFS Food is only one of them.
Before I started working for the IFS, I also did not hear about the new IFS Food and Logistics Global Markets programs. I think both are great opportunities for smaller companies to implement a good quality management system, not only in developing countries.
There are many aspects that constitute the standard as an beneficial tool for industry. First, the IFS standards are developed and steadily improved together with many partners from industry, retailers and certification bodies to meet the needs of all stakeholders best. As a manufacturing company, you are listed in the IFS database and you can be found easily by possible customers. In comparison to the ISO 22000, the IFS covers not only food safety, but also quality requirements.
To ensure this steady growth, there are about 1.400 specially trained auditors currently doing IFS audits. For me as a food technologist, the product and process related approach at the audits is not only interesting, but also very important and logic to insure product safety. Thanks to the Integrity Program, the quality and integrity of performed IFS audits is secured.
All in all, I got to know the IFS as a great institution for the standardization of food quality and safety.