Responsibilities of the certification body in respect of the IFS trainers and IFS auditors (including self-employed persons/freelancers)
The certification bodies have the following responsibilities:
To facilitate witness audits (by accreditation bodies and/or by Integrity Program).
- To ensure that at least one member of their staff is an IFS trainer who has taken part in an IFS “Train the Trainer” course; the trainer is responsible for the in-house training of all auditors intending to become IFS auditors or who are already IFS auditors. Persons intending to become IFS Trainers shall meet the requirements mentioned in the IFS Standard.
Note: for certification bodies starting to work for the IFS, the in-house training can be organised by the IFS on request.
- To ensure that the auditor is competent for the scope of the audit and its execution and is able to access and to apply relevant laws and regulations, based on IFS and internal certification body’s requirements; the certification body shall maintain these competences (continuous supervision by the certification body) and shall monitor audit execution by on-site witness audits. Every auditor shall be monitored by an IFS on-site witness audit at least once every two (2) years, and the results of this witness audit shall be documented. The observer shall be an IFS approved auditor or shall follow the same rules as for trainers.
- To maintain records of auditor competences.
- To ensure that no auditor has either acted against IFS rules, for example acting as a consultant, or has been active in and/or on behalf of the company being audited during the previous two (2) years. That is to say, during the certification process, no other commercial and/or personal relationships are permitted between the auditee and the auditor.
- To ensure that no auditor shall perform more than three (3) consecutive IFS audits of the same production site (only applies for complete audits, whatever the time between them; follow up and extension audits are not concerned by this rule).
- To ensure that an auditor is employed by only one IFS certification body for performing IFS audits and this for a period of not less than 12 months. In special cases, IFS offices shall be
contacted and may allow exceptions.
- To sign an audit order for each audit, this includes a statement accepting all the above-mentioned requirements.
- To organise a 2-day training session for IFS auditors once a year for the purposes of sharing experience, calibration and updating knowledge of relevant legal requirements, etc. The trainer shall lead a part of the training course.
- To perform an on-site witness audit of an auditor during a food safety audit and/or an audit under ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation to ensure the auditor’s competence before he/she has applied for the IFS examinations. The certification body shall state the date, the name of the audited company where the on-site witness audit took place, and the name of the observer in the IFS examination application file. The minutes of the on-site witness audit shall be provided on request to the IFS in English, French or German. The observer for the on-site witness audit of an auditor applying for IFS examination shall comply with the same requirements as the trainers or shall be an IFS Food auditor.
- To include the name of the observer in the IFS Database when uploading the audit data, when it has scheduled specific on-site IFS witness audit(s)
- To be fully cognisant of the examination regulations provided by the IFS offices.
The certification body is responsible for choosing an auditor with the corresponding scope(s), language, competence(s), etc. for each IFS audit.