IFS Certification

IFS - International Featured Standard

This standard is the predominantly German-French retail counterpart of the English BRC standard. It was developed by HDE - Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels (Main German Retail Federation) and FCD - Fédération des Entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution and the Italian retail associations CONAD, COOP and Federdistribuzione. It is a quality assurance and food safety standard for own brands - an international food standard. It serves for uniform control of food safety and quality levels of producers. The standard can be applied to all stages of production that are linked to agricultural production and in which food is "processed". Traders from Austria, Poland, Spain and Switzerland support the IFS standard and use it as their standard for food safety. It is intended for organisations that produce and/or process food.

IFS Food version 6 (certification to this version is possible from July 2012) is a standard recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as well as FSSC 22000, SQF, Global GAP and BRC. Some retailers such as Tesco, Ahold, Wal Mart, Metro, Migros and Delhaize have announced recognition of all GFSI standards.

The following chains support and require the IFS standard from their suppliers: Metro Group, Edeka, Rewe Group, Aldi, Lidl, Kaufland, Kaiser's Tengelmann, Auchan, Carrefour Group, EMC - Groupe Casino, Leclerc, Monoprix, Picard, Surgelés, Provera (Cora and Supermachés Match), Système U, COOP, CONAD and Unes.

Compliance with this standard is determined based on a checklist of queries and an evaluation matrix. The key criteria of this standard are: identification of a manageable number of relevant critical control points (CCPs), implementation of a system for monitoring CCPs with clear records and regular checks, repeated assurance to management that employees are aware of their responsibilities and that work effectiveness is being evaluated, product traceability, implementation of corrective actions. The main innovations in the latest version of this standard include the integration of new EU legislation on traceability, labelling and traceability of GMOs and allergens. Retail chains such as Aldi or Metro (Makro) now require certification according to this standard for their food suppliers.

The standard for the assessment of private label suppliers was developed in cooperation between the German and French retail associations. It is intended for food suppliers to retail chains, primarily private label, but also used for manufacturer-branded suppliers.

The intention of the IFS is primarily to set requirements for ensuring healthful food during production with a strong focus on operational assumptions.

IFS certification uses a scoring system for individual audit findings that lead to a final result. The content of this standard is then very similar to the BRC standard.

The International Featured Standard has the following key objectives:

  • A common standard with a uniform rating system;
  • Approval of accredited and qualified certification organizations and auditors;
  • Creating comparability and transparency throughout the supply chain;
  • Reducing costs for suppliers and trade.

Other IFS standards:

IFS Logistic is a standard designed for logistics organizations. Applicable to all areas of transportation, by truck, rail, ship and air. It is aimed at identifying and eliminating health and safety risks in transport, storage and distribution. It is possible to certify warehouses, transport companies and organisations carrying out both activities - storage and transport of food and possibly other products.

IFS Brokers - is designed for traders who do not own warehouses or have their own transport and supply food to retail chains.

IFS Cash & Carry/Wholesale - it is designed for wholesale or cash & carry operations, but it can also be applied to retail stores.

IFS HPC - is designed for household and personal care chemical products (cosmetics, household chemical products, cleaning materials and items listed in EC Regulation 1935/2004 and for personal care products.

IFS Packaging Guideline - packaging principles

TÜV NORD is an approved organisation from the German Retail Federation for conducting IFS audits.

BRC/IFS (British Retail Consortium Technical Standard and Protocol/International Food Standard) = Food Safety Management System. These are international standards for auditing private label suppliers and describe the hygiene and food safety requirements for food processing companies. Inspections are carried out by independent accredited certification bodies. The manufacturer or supplier thus only undergoes one inspection (audit), there is no need to undergo further audits of individual buyers, the certificate is worldwide in scope and therefore valid for all retail entities. Vendors no longer have to carry out inspections themselves and can offer customers greater assurance of the quality of production/transport conditions.

After the certification audit, a separate certificate is issued for each establishment.

TÜV NORD CERT would like to remind all its clients that all IFS certificates issued are only valid in conjunction with the corresponding entry on the IFS audit portal (www.food-care.com). Certifikáty, které nie záznamenány na IFS auditportálu, jsou neplatné / TÜV NORD CERT advises their clients that all issued IFS-Certificates are valid only in conjunction with the belonging entry in the IFS Auditportal (www.food-care.com). Certificates, not listed in the IFS Auditportal, are not valid.

Ing. Jiří Panáček
Ředitel divize certifikace systémů managementu

Tel.: +420 602 530 547