Requirements for IFS Auditors
In general, the auditors shall meet the requirements of chapters 7.2 and 7.3.1 of ISO 19011.
During an IFS audit, auditors shall, as IFS good auditing practices, use relevant samples of products, in order to investigate on-site the auditee’s production processes and documentation and to check the fulfilment of IFS requirements. In particular, auditors shall perform, during the audit, a traceability test in the company.
IFS publishes Guidelines which can provide further information on topics to be checked and/ or requested to the audited company during the audit.
Requirements before applying for the IFS examinations
FOR EXCLUSIVE AUDITORS
Before applying for IFS examinations, auditors shall have met the following requirements:
- They shall have signed a contract with the certification body (see topic 6.1.3 of ISO/IEC 17065 norm).
- They shall have participated at the IFS in-house course organised by the certification body or the equivalent IFS training provided by IFS.
- They shall have submitted all the relevant information about their competence to the certification body.
- The certification body shall have observed and confirmed the professional qualification and competence of the auditors.
FOR NON-EXCLUSIVE AUDITORS
- The contract with one (or more) certification body(ies) can be signed after the IFS examination
- Find more information about this approach here
General requirements for auditors when applying for IFS examinations (IFS Food)
Candidates applying for qualification as IFS auditors shall meet the following requirements and provide evidence with the application documents. An outline CV is available from IFS.
a) Education in the food sector
1) A food-related university degree (bachelor’s and/ or master’s degree equivalents) and two (2) years professional experience in the food industry in relation to food production activities (quality, production, R & D, …). or 2) If the candidate started directly as an auditor after completing his/ her food-related university degree then the candidate shall have five (5) years professional experience in the food processing industry. or 3) If the candidate has a university degree but not a food-related one, (bachelor’s and/ or master’s degree equivalents) then the candidate shall have five (5) years professional experience in the food industry – in relation to food production activities (quality, production, R & D, …). or 4) Professional education in food processing (high degree) and five (5) years professional experience in the food industry – in relation to food production activities (quality, production, R & D, …).
b) General audit experience
A minimum of ten (10) complete audits shall be performed by the auditor in the food processing industry during the previous two years. The audits shall have been carried out in different companies.
c) Food hygiene (including HACCP) training
Qualified training on the basis of the Codex General Principles for Food Hygiene.
d) Training in auditing techniques based on Quality Management System or Food Safety Management System
Duration: one week/ 40 hours or equivalent.
e) Specific and practical knowledge per product scopes and technology scopes auditors apply for (see Annex 1 for product and technology scopes)
For product scopes:
At least two (2) years professional experience in the food industry in relation to food production activities for each applied product scope.
At least ten (10) performed food safety GFSI recognised audits and/or second party audits including quality and food safety investigations with traceable origin and confirmed by the retailer or by the industry,
per scope. Audits shall have been carried out in different companies.
Note: approvals of scopes 7 (combined products) and 11 (pet food) are connected to other scopes. Further explanations are provided in Annex 1.
For technology scopes:
At least two (2) years professional experience in the food industry in relation to food production activities for each applied technology scope.
At least five (5) performed food safety GFSI recognised audits and/or second party audits including quality and food safety investigations with traceable origin and confirmed by the retailer or by the industry, per scope.
Audits shall have been carried out in different sites.
If the auditor wishes to perform audits in language(s) different from his/ her mother language, he/ she shall be able to provide evidence for speaking fluently this/ these other language(s). In this case, the IFS offices may request that he/ she take an oral examination in the language concerned.
Note: see also language requirements in IFS doctrine (section 3.3.2).
g) IFS in-house training
IFS in-house training materials shall be based on the materials provided by IFS. The auditor shall have taken part in the in-house training (covering IFS, food-related legislation, food hygiene) undertaken by an authorised IFS trainer and organised by the certification body. The minimum duration shall be two (2) days. The auditor shall be competent in the language used during the training (native language and/ or languages declared by the auditor in the IFS examination application form).
Remark: For the auditors who intend to perform other IFS Standard audits see IFS respective Standard, Part 3, chapter 1.
IFS is responsible for the technical validation of the auditors’ application files before they take part in IFS examinations. If the auditor’s CV does not meet the above-mentioned requirements, IFS may reject the auditor’s examination application. If the auditor does not show sufficient evidence for the product and/ or technology scopes he/ she is applying for, IFS may reject the applications for the product and/ or technology scopes concerned.
All CV’s content shall be confirmed by a person from the accredited certification body who shall put his/ her name and position on the bottom of the CV.
Note: IFS offices have the possibility to withdraw an IFS auditor approval or not to accept him/ her at the examination, if the information provided in the CV is false. This kind of breach will be also forwarded to the IFS Integrity Program.