IFS Food Certification : For Food Safety

Food safety is essential for consumers, distributors and producers. It is essential to guarantee safe, authentic and quality products. The IFS Food certification, recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), evaluates products and production processes according to specific criteria.

What is IFS Food certification ?

The IFS Food certification is recognized worldwide for guaranteeing the safety and quality of food products, as well as the excellence of production processes. This food certification is aimed primarily at food manufacturers who handle the processing or packaging of products of plant or animal origin and also at companies that package food under their own brand.

Integrated into the International Featured Standards (IFS), the IFS Food certification is one of a series of standards and programs developed by food industry specialists. These standards are endorsed by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a consortium that brings together key international food safety approaches.

With IFS Food certification, a food manufacturer’s procedures and products are assessed against specific criteria, including legal and customer-specific requirements. This process ensures rigorous quality control and food safety throughout the supply chain, from the selection of raw materials to the distribution of finished products.

The IFS Food certification rating system is based on a framework that takes into account several key areas: governance, resource management, production operations, verification and improvement of procedures, corrective measures, food fraud prevention, allergen and GMO management, and subcontractor management.

This certification offers multiple benefits to food manufacturers: it strengthens the confidence of consumers and business partners, reduces operational costs, improves efficiency, encourages continuous improvement, Enables tailored risk analysis, offers customized solutions and reduces the necessary frequency of audits.

Which organisations offer IFS Food certification ?

The IFS Food certification is granted by accredited, independent certification bodies authorized to perform audits in accordance with the IFS Food standard. These bodies are overseen by IFS Management GmbH, responsible for the management and progress of IFS standards, in addition to organising the training and qualification of specialist auditors.

Worldwide, more than 100 recognized certification bodies offer this certification in more than 140 countries. To locate a certification body that matches your domain, country and language, visit the official IFS website or use their dedicated search engine.

These organizations provide a range of services to food manufacturers, including :

  • Organisation of IFS Food audits according to the IFS standard and classification system  
  • Issuance of IFS Food certificates for successful audits  
  • Publication of audit results and certificates in the IFS database, publicly accessible  
  • Follow-up of corrective measures and improvement plans initiated by manufacturers  
  • Advice and support in the preparation and application of IFS Food standards

By partnering with these organizations, food manufacturers ensure the integrity and recognition of their IFS Food certification, ensuring customer and consumer satisfaction.

What are the specific IFS Food certification requirements for my industry ?

IFS Food certification is intended for all food manufacturers, whether they process or package products of plant or animal origin, or package food products under their own brand. However, some requirements vary depending on the type of product, the manufacturing process, the target market or the end consumer.

Here is an overview of the specific requirements :

Product Type Requirements

  • Animal products must comply with health and veterinary standards, including traceability, residue control, animal welfare and disease prevention.  
  • Organic products must follow the specific rules of production, processing, labelling and certification dedicated to organic farming.  
  • Gluten-free products must comply with the gluten content limits established by regulations and international standards.

Requirements related to the manufacturing process

  • Manufacturing methods must be validated and controlled according to the principles of risk analysis - critical control points (HACCP).  
  • They must also comply with good hygiene practices (GMP) and good manufacturing practices (GMP).  
  • Process control and monitoring shall be carried out using appropriate critical parameters, critical limits and control frequencies.

Target market or end customer requirements

  • Products for export must comply with regulatory and contractual standards specific to the country of destination.  
  • Products for private label must meet the requirements detailed in the customer specifications.  
  • Products aimed at sensitive consumers, such as infants, allergy sufferers or the elderly, must meet stricter safety and quality criteria.

To determine the specific requirements of the IFS Food certification for your activity, consult the IFS Food reference system, contact an accredited certification body or seek the assistance of a specialized Yvea partner, which will guide you in establishing and improving your food safety and quality management system.

What are the steps to obtain IFS Food certification ?

IFS Food certification requires several distinct steps to be achieved :

Prepare the IFS Food audit

  • Choose an accredited certification body for IFS Food certification, selectable on the IFS website.  
  • Establish a contract with this organization, including details of scope, duration, cost and conditions of the IFS Food audit.  
  • Implement and document a food safety and quality management system in accordance with the IFS Food standards.  
  • Conduct a self-assessment to assess management system compliance and identify areas for improvement.

Perform the IFS Food audit

  • Welcome the auditor or audit team of the certification body to your production site.  
  • Attend the opening meeting which details the IFS Food audit process, objectives and methods.  
  • Present all the data and evidence necessary for the auditor to assess the compliance of your management system with the IFS Food repository.  
  • Collaborate during facility visits to allow for a complete review of premises, equipment and processes.  
  • Participate in the closing meeting that reveals findings, observations and any non-conformities identified during the audit.

Get the IFS Food certificate

  • Receive the audit report describing the strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement of the management system.  
  • Obtain the IFS Food certificate from the certification body if the audit result is positive with a score of at least 75%.  
  • Disseminate the audit report and certificate on the IFS database, accessible to the public and clients.  
  • Implement corrective actions and follow improvement recommendations proposed by the auditor and the certification body.

To best prepare your IFS Food certification and maximize your chances of success, benefit from the expertise and support of Yvea’s partners.

How much does an IFS Food certification cost ?

The cost of an IFS Food certification varies according to several criteria :

  • The size of the company and its turnover  
  • The complexity and number of products and processes to be examined  
  • The length and number of days required for the audit  
  • The choice of certification body  
  • The costs of the auditor’s travel and accommodation  
  • Any additional costs for translation, the publication or management of the certificate

There is no standard rate for IFS Food certification, but a customized quote can be obtained from the selected certification body. This quote will detail the scope, duration, costs and modalities of the audit as well as the terms of sale. It is imperative that the quote be signed by both parties prior to initiation of the audit.

The price of an IFS Food certification can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of euros, depending on the source. This investment is profitable for food producers thanks to the significant benefits of IFS Food certification such as access to international markets, reduced operational costs, better performance and increased customer satisfaction.

In order to minimize the costs of an IFS Food certification, effective preparation for the audit is recommended. This includes setting up a food safety and quality management system in line with IFS Food standards, carrying out an internal self-assessment and collaborating with a specialised Yvea partner. Contact us for information about the modalities.

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

The time required to obtain an IFS Food certification varies according to a set of criteria, including :

  • Food safety and quality management system readiness  
  • The volume and severity of non-conformities found during the IFS Food audit  
  • The effectiveness and timeliness of corrective actions and improvement plans  
  • The processing time and approval of the audit report and certificate by the certifying entity

While there is no exact time frame for obtaining IFS Food certification, an estimate can be made based on the key steps in the process :

  • Preparation for the IFS Food audit, which can take from 3 to 6 months, depending on the level of adequacy of the management system to the IFS Food standards  
  • The IFS Food audit itself, which lasts between 1 and 3 days, depending on the size and complexity of the company, the number and nature of the products and processes examined, as well as the number of auditors involved  
  • The receipt of the audit report and the IFS Food certificate, which takes 2 to 4 weeks, the time required for the certification body to confirm and validate the audit results

In general, the entire process of obtaining an IFS Food certification can be between 4 and 8 months. It is recommended to organize the IFS Food audit sufficiently in advance, taking into account periods of high activity or holidays, and to carefully follow the deadlines for the implementation of corrective actions and improvement plans.

Is there a need to renew the IFS Food certification ?

The IFS Food certification, a quality guarantee for food safety, is valid for 12 months from the initial audit. In order to continue to benefit from this label, an annual renewal is imperative. This involves committing to a new audit, based on the same criteria and evaluation method as the initial audit.

The renewal schedule with your certification body must follow specific rules :

  • The renewal audit must be completed no later than 12 months after the initial audit and before the current certificate expires.  
  • It must be carried out by the initial certification body, unless a change is approved by IFS Management GmbH.  
  • Unless an exception is granted by IFS Management GmbH, a different auditor must conduct the renewal.  
  • The renewal must examine the same production site and cover the same products and processes as the initial audit, unless a change is approved by IFS Management GmbH.

The renewal process confirms that food safety and quality management always meets the IFS Food standards, taking into account the improvements made following the initial audit. This also allows us to stay up to date with the changes in the IFS Food standard, which are dictated by market trends and consumer expectations. Prepare and successfully renew your IFS Food certification with the help and support of Yvea.

La procédure classique

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

1

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

2

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

3

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