IFS achieves GFSI Benchmark
End of August GFSI, the Consumer Goods Forum and IFS announced that IFS has successfully achieved recognition against GFSI's Benchmarking Requirements Version 2020.1. The recognition encompasses IFS Food version 7, IFS Broker version 3.1, IFS Logistics version 2.3 and IFS PACsecure version 2. These standards contribute to making a considerable part of the food supply chain safer. GFSI recognition is an essential prerequisite for IFS Stakeholders.
The IFS Pathway is online
The IFS Pathway is a platform containing technical content and practical resources relating to the IFS Global Markets programs and IFS Standards. It is our latest tool that accompanies companies on their journey towards IFS Certification. IFS is the first and only certification program owner to offer such a unique and comprehensive collection of valuable and practical materials to support companies' knowledge and skills development assessed to its programs or standards for free. The program addresses sites assessed to our IFS Food, HPC, Logistics or PACsecure global markets programs and standards, as well as companies preparing for their initial IFS Certification assessment.
The necessity to document compulsory fields in internal audit reports
To comply with the GFSI benchmarking requirements 2020.1, IFS had to significantly increase the number of compulsory fields for IFS Food version 7. Auditors must now fill in 73 compulsory fields in the assessment report (compared to 18 in version 6.1). A compulsory field always relates to a specific IFS Requirement. According to IFS Requirement 5.1.1., a certified site must have implemented an internal audit programme covering all IFS Requirements. To be better prepared here, we strongly recommend IFS Food certified businesses to include the information requested for the compulsory fields in their internal audit reports. The auditor will check this during the IFS Assessment.
To make it easier to do so, IFS offers support:
- The IFS Compulsory Fields Guideline provides indications and instructions on how to complete the mandatory fields.
- The IFS App Audit Manager and the IFS Software auditXpressX™ enable the recording of the results of internal audits in full and the creation of internal audit reports as an axpx-file that can easily be made available to the IFS Auditor. It makes it simpler for a site to prove that it has fully implemented IFS Requirement 5.1.1 and for the auditor to verify it. Both tools are available entirely or partially free of charge.
The IFS App is available in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
Allowing witness auditors, IFS Integrity Program auditors, and trainees access to IFS certified businesses
It sometimes happens that sites that are certified to one of the IFS Standards refuse to give witness auditors, IFS Integrity Program (IP) auditors or trainees access to their premises. We fully understand that this is a sensitive topic, especially in the pandemic when businesses might be reluctant to accept more visitors. Here, we would like to stress that all auditors previously mentioned are professionals. You can be sure that they are aware of all safety and hygiene regulations and behave accordingly.
We also realise that not every site may be familiar with the reasons for working with witness auditors, IP auditors and trainees. Here, we have listed some arguments:
- It guarantees the competence of the IFS Auditors and quality of the IFS Assessment: Performing witness audits every two years is a mandatory requirement for IFS Auditors. This way, the certification bodies (CBs) regularly check their performance. New auditors are witnessed when performing their initial IFS Assessment. Passing it is one of the requirements of being approved as an IFS Auditor. We attach great importance to the qualification of auditors so that certified sites can rely on the competence of the IFS Auditor. It ensures the quality of our assessments and the reliability of the IFS Certificates.
- It is a prerequisite for the recognition of IFS Certificates: IFS Food, Logistics, PACsecure and Broker are GFSI recognised schemes and accredited by national accreditation bodies. To comply with the requirements of GFSI, the accreditation body and IFS, certification bodies must perform witness audits to monitor the performance of the auditors regularly. For many IFS certified businesses, the accreditation and GFSI recognition is an essential prerequisite that their customers expect.
- It ensures the integrity of IFS Certificates: Auditors from the IFS Integrity Program (IP Auditors) work on behalf of IFS and perform witness audits and integrity onsite checks. During the witness audits, they check the performance of the auditor as part of IFS's quality assurance. Certified businesses must always allow the IFS IP Auditor access to their premises.
Witness Audits are essential for us to rely on capable auditors and guarantee the quality of the IFS Assessments. Accordingly, the CB always includes a clause in the contract with its client determining the obligation always to allow witness auditors access. Also, the CBs are responsible for informing clients about the current version of Annex 4 of the Framework Agreement, which sets the responsibilities regarding the Integrity Program. Accordingly, all certified companies must permit the aforementioned auditors access to their facilities.
Learn more about IFS's Auditor Qualification: IFS Food Auditor Management Position Paper (ifs-certification.com)
New HACCP Course for the food industry
The updated course "HACCP from the perspective of the IFS" is now available at the official IFS Training Services Providers. Based on the IFS Food version 7 requirements, the 2-day training covers the fundamental aspects of implementing an in-house HACCP plan. You will also learn more about relevant European legislation. Furthermore, we have developed three new case studies that participants can work on and discuss during the course. We can recommend the course for both IFS Food as IFS Global Markets Food assessed sites and consultants.
For more information, contact one of the IFS Training Centres: IFS Database - Training centers (ifs-certification.com)
New unannounced assessment rules – decision about the unannounced assessment
One of the new requirements in IFS Food version 7 is that at least once every third IFS Assessment must be performed unannounced. The IFS International Technical Committee (ITC) decided that certification bodies will determine in which year the unannounced assessment will take place and will inform you accordingly and well in advance to give you the possibility to get prepared accordingly.
Review of the IFS Global Markets Food program
Early this year, the review process for IFS Global Markets Food started. We have installed a working group consisting of various stakeholders from relevant IFS Global Markets countries such as Germany, Brazil, Spain, Türkiye, Colombia, Chile, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, and Poland. IFS Global Markets Manager, Joao Stein, co-ordinates the process that kicked off with an open stakeholder survey. After studying the almost 400 completed questionnaires and taking up the comments and suggestions of the different stakeholders, we have now entered the next phase. We are currently reviewing the requirements and the guideline. In this newsletter, we will keep you informed about the progress
New IFS Representative in the Benelux
Hanneke Veltman has recently joined the IFS Team. Hanneke is a member of the IFS Integrity Program team and officially represents IFS in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg. IFS is delighted to have Hanneke, who has extensive knowledge of the market, on the team. She is a food technologist who held several positions at leading companies within the Dutch food industry before taking over Kroonenburg Advies, a consultancy specialised in HACCP and quality assurance. Here, she also has qualified and gained experience as a lead assessor. Hanneke has sold the company recently and looks forward to her new challenge with IFS now.https://www.ifs-certification.com/index.php/en/ifs/contact-person
19- 20 October: Food Safety Conference Tchech Republic and Slovakia.
More information: www.IFSkonference.cz
19 November: IFS Conference in Poland.
More information: email@example.com
Login information IFS Database
If you don't have your login data for the IFS Database, please get in touch with your certification body. It administers your data in the IFS Database and can provide the information needed. If you have forgotten your password, you can use the "password forgotten" button.