IFS: International Featured Standards

An International Featured Standards (IFS) certification focuses on the safety and quality of food and consumer goods. In this guide, we will explore the key aspects of IFS certification, including its significance, steps required for certification, benefits of implementation, and more.

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IFS certification

What is an International Featured Standards (IFS) certification? Copied

IFS sets an internationally recognized standard for auditing and tracking the safety and quality of food and consumer goods. There are several IFS certifications, each of which focuses on a specific area of food and consumer good production and distribution.These include:

  • IFS Food – for organizations involved in food processing or production
  • IFS Logistics – for organizations involved with food transport, storage, distribution, loading, and unloading
  • IFS Broker – for organizations that do not produce, process, or pack food products, but are involved in their trade or export
  • IFS PACsecure – focuses on the safety and quality of food and consumer good packaging materials
  • IFS Wholesale/Cash & Carry – for wholesale and cash-and-carry businesses that sell to commercial buyers
  • IFS HPC (Household and Personal Care) – for organizations in the household and personal care sector

Who needs an IFS certification? Copied

IFS certifications are not mandatory, but because they are globally recognized, they are often valuable for organizations involved in the food and consumer good supply chain, as they prove a commitment to safety, quality, and reliability of their products and processes.

How to earn an IFS certification Copied

To earn an IFS certification, organizations must first choose an IFS-accredited certification body, then undergo an audit.

While the requirements of this audit will vary depending on the type of IFS certification sought, the auditor will typically examine criteria related to:

  • The suppliers used by the organization
  • Records regarding the date of product production
  • The organization’s HACCP plan
  • Sanitary and structural conditions of the organization’s production facility
  • Production processes, hygiene status, and foreign body management
  • Cleaning products used
  • Proper documentation
  • On-site security and storage

If the organization meets IFS standards, the auditor will recommend that the certification body issue an IFS certification, which the organization will receive after approximately eight weeks.

Renewal requirements for IFS certifications Copied

IFS certifications are typically valid for 12 months. During that time, your organization must undergo a surveillance audit. If the audit is successful, your organization’s IFS certification will be renewed for another 12 months.

The benefits of IFS certification Copied

An IFS certification offers several benefits to organizations. Some key advantages include the following.

Wider market access

Many retailers and buyers require their vendors to possess IFS certification as proof the company’s commitment to food safety and quality. This means that earning an IFS certifications can potentially open doors to broader customer base.

Improved operational efficiency

The IFS certification process involves a thorough review of operational processes and procedures. This can result in increased efficiency, reduced waste, better resource management, and lower production costs.

Enhanced reputation

An IFS certification demonstrates an organization’s dedication to producing safe and high-quality food and consumer goods products. This can boost confidence among consumers, retailers, and business partners.

Challenges in earning an IFS certification Copied

Earning an IFS certification may pose several challenges to organizations. They include the following.

Quality Management System (QMS) implementation

To earn an IFS certification, an organization typically must have already implemented a QMS such as HACCP or ISO 22000. This is a related but different process than IFS certification, potentially requiring the organization to pursue both at once.

Supply chain coordination

Organizations must communicate and coordinate with suppliers throughout the supply chain to guarantee that raw materials and ingredients meet IFS standards. This coordination can be labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Documentation management

IFS standards demand that organizations possess accurate and current documentation of processes, procedures, and records to ensure traceability, quality and safety. Creating, implementing, and maintaining a system for managing this documentation is often a challenge for organizations seeking IFS certification.

Tips and strategies for preparing for an IFS certification Copied

Here are a few tips for preparing for an IFS certification:

Resources for IFS certification Copied

For more information and guidance on IFS certification, you can refer to the following resources:

  • International Featured Standards (IFS). The IFS official website should be the first stop for those seeking IFS certification. There, you will find fact sheets and standards guides for each IFS certification, contact information for accredited certification bodies, and more.
  • Industry skills matrices. AG5 offers free, industry-specific skills matrices dedicated to food and beverage, good manufacturing practices (GMP), consumer goods, packaging, and many other areas. You can use them to identify, track, and manage skills related to IFS certifications in your organization.
  • Certification guides. AG5 offers free certification guides for HACCP and ISO 22000, both of which may prove valuable for organizations seeking IFS certification.
  • Regulatory agencies. Governmental agencies related to food safety will also provide a wealth of resources related to both food safety and IFS certifications. These include the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Skills management for IFS certification Copied

AG5 stores all certifications in the cloud, providing all authorized personnel with access to the right version of approved certifications. This helps you easily keep track of all data and documentation related to IFS certifications across your organization.

 

Using AG5’s skills management software, you can monitor the status of any type of certification that is relevant to your workforce, leveraging intuitive dashboards that provide you with a clear understanding of exactly what is needed to keep your employees skilled and safe.

Frequently asked questions Copied

  • What is the scope of an IFS certification?

  • Is an IFS certification mandatory?

  • How long does it take to obtain an IFS certification?

  • What are the cost considerations for IFS certification?

  • What is the validity period of an IFS certification?

  • Can an IFS certification be integrated with any management systems?

  • How can you learn more about IFS certification?

Sources Copied

Source title Description Date retrieved Source URL
International Featured StandardsIFS12 Apr 2024 14:26:26https://www.ifs-certification...
International Organization for StandardizationISO12 Apr 2024 14:26:20https://www.iso.org/iso-22000-..
European Food Safety AuthorityEFSA12 Apr 2024 14:36:24https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en..
US Food and Drug AdministrationFDA12 Apr 2024 14:59:24https://www.fda.gov/..

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Revisions Copied

Original version | April 12, 2024

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