IFS Food Version 7 places new demands on food producing companies

The new version of the food safety and quality standard of the IFS family was a long time coming. In October 2020 Version 7 of IFS Food was published. Many companies that had implemented the preceding Version 6.1 in their company, and companies who wanted to introduce IFS Food 7, are now faced with the challenge of implementing the requirements of the amended standard in a timely manner.

IFS Food Standard form for assessing the quality and safety of foods

IFS Food Version 7 covers six chapters and includes a total of 237 requirements:

  1. Corporate Governance & Commitment (12)
  2. Quality and Food Safety Management System (26)
  3. Resource Management (25)
  4. Operational Processes (134)
  5. Measurements, Analyses, Improvements (36)
  6. Food Defence Plan (4)

Thirty-nine requirements from version 6.1 were merged with others. Twenty-three requirements were deleted and thirteen were added. The requirements still include ten knock-out criteria that would lead to failure of the audit/assessment if not fulfilled sufficiently.

The validity period of the certificate is basically 12 months. It is also new that an unannounced audit/assessment must be conducted at least with every third recertification audit/assessment.

Increased focus on product and process orientation

The revised IFS Food standard aims to focus more on practice, i.e., operations, so that less time will be spent on reviewing documents. This means that at least 50 per cent of the time of the total audit/assessment period within the scope of certification must be used for the site visit. In this way, IFS Food is intended to become a product- and process-oriented certification scheme. The production processes including maintenance, hygiene, pest monitoring and cleaning and disinfection will be scrutinized more intensively than in the past. Storage and shipping areas, product development, on-site laboratory facilities, social facilities and outdoor areas will also be more thoroughly reviewed during the amended certification process.

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Adapted assessment system within the standard

The assessment system within the standard has also changed. Here, the “B” and “C” assessments are of particular interest, as these have been subjected to new guidelines. The amended IFS Food Standard also includes a number of corrections and requires certified companies, and all those who want to be certified, to correct deviations in a timely manner.

Since 1 March 2021, Version 7 certification has been optional. From 1 July 2021, Version 7 will be mandatory for all IFS Food certified companies.

The amendments listed here represent only a small section of the entire alterations to the IFS Standard. Our experts for certifications in the food industry will gladly assist you from planning to implementing the standard in your company. In addition, we will of course accompany you in the maintenance and improvement of your QM system. In addition to individual advice, our services include the review and creation of your QM system with the corresponding QM documentation. We assist you in the planning and development of risk assessments, hazard analyses and hygiene concepts.

We also provide training courses in the areas of food safety, food defence, food fraud and HACCP. Feel free to contact us. We will support you precisely according to your needs.

IFS Food Version 7 - your contact person

Christian Manthey

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