IFS Certification

What is IFS Certification? Difference Between IFS and BRC

IFS certification is a globally recognized benchmark that verifies the safety, quality, and compliance of food products. This article provides an in-depth look into IFS certification, its purposes, benefits, the process to obtain it, and how it compares to the BRC certification.

What is IFS Certification?

IFS (International Featured Standards) Certification is a globally recognized standard that ensures the safety and quality of food products, and it was created in 2003.  It is designed to help food manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers maintain consistent safety and quality standards throughout their operations. The certification covers all aspects of food processing and handling, from raw materials to the final product, ensuring that products meet international food safety and quality regulations.

What is IFS Certification?

IFS Certification is the most internationally recognized proof of compliance with food safety regulations. This certification covers all areas such as traceability, implementation of hygiene protocols, or compliance with HACCP principles. 

What are the Benefits of IFS Certification?

IFS Certification reduces the number of audits that have to be carried out like those of distribution companies and other customers. It provides customers with a complete picture of the strengths and areas for improvement of their suppliers. 

IFS is considered as the best guarantee for consumers of quality, food safety, and reliability. It also is a legal defense in the event of a food safety incident and a legal defense within the scope of due diligence. 

How to Obtain IFS Certification

Obtaining IFS certification involves several key steps:

  • Understand the Standard: Familiarize yourself with the relevant IFS standard (e.g., IFS Food, IFS Logistics, IFS Broker).
  • Gap Analysis: Conduct a gap analysis to identify areas that need improvement to meet the IFS requirements.
  • Develop and Implement Procedures: Develop and implement necessary procedures and systems to address the identified gaps.
  • Internal Audit: Perform an internal audit to ensure compliance with the IFS standard.
  • Select a Certification Body: Choose an accredited certification body to conduct the audit.
  • Certification Audit: The certification body performs a detailed audit of your operations. If non-conformities are found, you must address them within a specified timeframe.
  • Certification Decision: Upon successful completion of the audit and closure of any non-conformities, the certification body issues the IFS certification.
  • Surveillance Audits: To maintain certification, periodic surveillance audits are required to ensure ongoing compliance.
How to Obtain IFS Certification

What is the Difference between IFS and BRC?

Both the IFS and the BRC come up when talking about certificates in the food industry. However, why are the two certificates different? What distinguishes these two standards from one another? 

  • Scope and Application: IFS certification covers a wide range of standards tailored for different sectors (e.g., food, logistics, brokers), whereas BRC focuses more on food safety and packaging.
  • Geographical Influence: IFS is more prevalent in Europe, particularly in German-speaking countries, while BRC is widely recognized in the UK and Commonwealth countries.
  • Audit Process: Both certifications require thorough audits, but the specific requirements and focus areas can differ slightly. IFS places a strong emphasis on continuous improvement and customer focus.
  • Standards and Criteria: Although both standards share similarities in criteria, they have different specific requirements and documentation processes.

Conclusion

IFS certification is a crucial tool for businesses in the food industry striving to uphold high standards of safety and quality. By obtaining this certification, companies can ensure regulatory compliance, enhance market access, and build consumer trust. Understanding the differences between IFS and other certifications like BRC helps businesses make informed decisions about their food safety and quality management systems. With its comprehensive approach and emphasis on continuous improvement, IFS certification remains a benchmark for excellence in the global food industry.

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