What does IFS mean?
The abbreviation IFS stands for “International Featured Standards”. It is a set of guidelines and regulations developed specifically for companies in the food and retail industries. They set requirements for food quality, safety and integrity, as well as for the management of companies.
There are several areas of application for IFS standards. These are divided into the parts of the initial process of a product or service:
- IFS Food
This standard specifies the requirements for companies that produce, process or package bulk food. It addresses food safety and quality as well as operational management.
- IFS Cash&Carry/Wholesale
These rules are relevant to cash & carry and/or wholesale operations that trade their own loose and packaged products.
- IFS HCP
In this area, IFS standards regulate the processing or handling of loose household and personal care products in factories.
- IFS Logistics
In the logistics area, the standards define the rules for handling for food or non-food products from companies and service providers. They specify the requirements for food safety and quality and for the management of logistics processes.
- IFS Brokers
This standard applies to companies that act as trade brokers and resell food from suppliers to customers. It specifies requirements for quality management and traceability.
- IFS Pac Secure
This standard is aimed at companies that produce packaging materials for food. It specifies requirements for food safety, quality and the management of production processes.
The IFS standards are based on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) principles and are audited by independent certification bodies. Companies that meet the IFS standards can receive certificates attesting to their compliance with the standards. These certificates can be important for food business operations and trade, as they increase customer confidence in the quality and safety of products.
What are the benefits of the IFS standards?
IFS standards offer several benefits to companies in the food industry and retail sector:
- improving food safety: the IFS standards set strict food safety requirements and help companies identify, control and minimize potential hazards. By implementing the standards, companies can ensure that their products meet the highest safety standards and reduce the risk of food contamination.
- enhancing product quality: the IFS standards also include requirements for product quality and stipulate that companies must carry out quality checks and inspections. By complying with the standards, companies can improve their product quality and ensure that their products meet customer requirements.
- compliance with legal requirements: The IFS standards take into account national and international laws and regulations in the area of food production and processing. By implementing the standards, companies can ensure that they meet the relevant legal requirements, thus minimizing the risk of fines, legal consequences and loss of reputation.
- strengthening customer confidence: IFS certification serves as independent proof of compliance with high quality and safety standards. By obtaining an IFS certificate, companies can build customer confidence and show them that they care about the safety and quality of the products they supply.
- facilitating international trade: IFS standards are internationally recognized and accepted by many retailers and buyers worldwide. By meeting the standards, companies can increase their chances of accessing new markets and trading partners.
- increase efficiency in operational management: the IFS standards also include requirements for operational management, such as the implementation of quality management systems, training of employees and documentation of processes. By implementing these management practices, companies can increase operational efficiency, optimize workflows and reduce costs.
The IFS standards thus provide a holistic approach to safety, quality, and management for companies in the food and retail industries, enabling them to improve their competitiveness and successfully run their business.