The origin of IFS
The International Food Standard, often referred to as IFS or IFS Food for short, is a food safety standard that was drawn up by HDE, the German trade association for food distributors. The standard is also referred to as International Featured Standard – Food.
The French retail trade association FCD has joined the IFS standard, while the Italian association ANCC, ANCD, and Federdistribuzione also support the standard. This, plus the fact that the IFS standard was developed based on the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, leads to the standard being referred to as the German-French counterpart of BRC Food.
IFS Food stands for International Featured Standards Food and bears a strong resemblance to BRC Food. The first variant of IFS Food is also based on the then-current variant of BRC Food. However, there are some differences. IFS Food works with so-called ‘knock-out criteria'. If one of these criteria is not met, the supplier is automatically not approved for IFS Food (read more about these criteria here).
IFS Food guidelines compared to BRC Food
The guidelines of IFS Food and BRC Food are for the most part the same (approximately 85%). As can also be seen above, the main difference lies in the way of assessing the criteria from the standard. This also determines the outcome of the audit: approved or not. An important difference here is that BRC Food gives the opportunity to influence the outcome of the audit. The company has 28 days to provide evidence that the identified shortcoming has been adequately addressed. This option is clearly not offered within IFS Food: the result of the audit is the final result of the assessment. The frequency of the audits is determined by the achieved result and the risk class of the product.
Different standards compared to IFS
In addition to IFS, there is also BRC and FSSC 22000. All three certification schemes have a set of basic requirements that you must meet. These requirements are drawn up by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The GFSI requirements are included in the so-called Benchmarking requirements.
Read more about IFS and the other standards in the presentation for module 3 of the Food Safety Compliance training.
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