IFS - International Food Standard

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History and Introduction to Version 5 of the IFS Standard

Supplier audits have been a permanent feature of a retailer’s systems and procedures for many years now. Until 2003 they were preformed by qualified QA Departments of the individual European retailers and wholesalers. With the ever-rising demands of consumers, the increasing liabilities of retailers and wholesalers, the increasing of legal requirements and the globalisation of product supply, all made it essential to develop a food safety standard.

Version 3 of the standard was developed by the German Retail Federation (HDE) and the standard was launched in 2003.  In January 2004, an updated version, version 4, was designed and launched in collaboration with the French Retail Federation (FCD). In 2005/2006 the Italian Retail Federations showed an interest in the standard. At the end of 2005 IFS launched a consultation exercise and a project plan for version 5 of the standard. Version 5 was launched in August 2007 with an implementation date of the 1st January 2008.
The objectives of the International Food Standard are:
  • To establish a common standard with uniform evaluation systems
  • To work with accredited Certification Bodies
  • To ensure comparability and transparency throughout the entire supply chain
  • To reduce costs and time for both suppliers and retailers