IFS is a standard of controlling the own brand suppliers which was created in 2002
by the German retailers. IFS In 2003 France joined the system - FCD
(Fédération des Entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution).
The system is horizontal i.e. all food manufacturers may bring themselves
under control within their own brand. This is different from the quality management system /QS-System/, for example, in which the whole chain from the fodder industry
to the point of giving a product to the final user is brought under external control. The International Food Standard concerns the audit data of the food manufacturers. The basis of the foundation of the International Food Standards is constituted by the fact that in the past several audits were imposed by various institutions. Every retail institution orders a control of their own standards by the qualified auditors. This process, which is scarcely satisfactory, especially from the perspective of an institution being actually under audit, ought to be limited and reduced by a common system.
The advantages are above all:
a better comparability of the audit results
supply costs’ saving (the less audits, the smaller waste of time)
retail costs’ saving (no internal auditors, a balanced assessment of the results)
The general aim of a control is whether a particular company is able to manufacture a safe product that meats common legal data and specifications. In order to fulfil these requirements an extensive set of questions is there to be answered during the audit.
The execution of an audit
The institution conducting the audit provides the target company with a set of questions. By means of the answers, the controlled company tries to obtain the insight in the internal means of maintaining quality. It is especially necessary in order to assure the access to the company for the controller. It significantly expedites the conduction of the audit so that the expected duration of the control for a medium-size company is 1.5 days. The minimum duration of an audit is specified by the IFS and, therefore, cannot be determined without the agreement with the controlling institution.
The course of an audit:
an opening session,
an on-the-spot documents control,
the site evaluation,
a summary session
The assessment scheme:
the mark is given on three levels:
basic level, higher level and recommendations,
A: full accordance with the criteria
B: nearly full accordance although insignificant deviations detected
C: only a part of the criteria fulfilled
D: criteria not fulfilled.
The basic level receives the minimal criteria for the international food industry. The higher level presents the highest standard. The recommendations are real. Additional points may be obtained through these recommendations. Individual questions may be assessed by the auditor. The basis of the assessment comprises:
Additionally it is possible that a question is assessed as unable to be assessed. This, however, requires justification. All deviations also have to be explained. A point system lies behind each mark. All given points form a sum of points obtained by the company. In order to receive the admission for the scope of food it is necessary to get 75% of points on the basic level. The institution conducting the audit prepares an extensive report from the control. Such report becomes the property of the target company. The target company is additionally obliged to come up with a reparation plan. This is a considerable difference in comparison to the British standard. The reparation plan is attached to the report and remains in the target company. The report may be introduced if necessary.
The actual documents may be found at HDE Trade Services GmbH, Am Weidendamm 1a, 10117 Berlin, phone no.: 0 30/72 62 50 70, Fax: 0 30/72 62 50 79, or at the website www.food-care.info. The owner of the company is Stephan Tromp.
Who is the IFS logistics intended for?
The gap has to be eliminated between the production and sale in order to obtain a
complete insight into the IFS Logistik chain of supply.
According to IFS-Logistik, companies may bring themselves under certification as Food
and Non-Food. The standard includes operations like transport, storage, sale, loading and unloading etc. It may be applied to all kinds of logistics: trucks, goods traffic, sea transport of cooled, frozen and fresh products.
This standard is not intended for the stock of companies certified by the normal IFS standards.