IFS - International Food Standard

The members of the German Retail Federation: Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels (HDE), its French counterpart Fédération des entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution (FCD), and its Italian counterparts COOP, CONAD, Federdistribuzione – have collaborated on a quality and food safety standard for retailer (and wholesaler) branded food products, which is intended to assess suppliers’ food safety and quality systems, with a uniform approach that harmonizes the elements of each.


Basic objectives of the International Food Standard include:

▪ Establishing a common standard with a uniform evaluation system,

▪ Working with accredited certification bodies who manage a pool of well-qualified and approved auditors,

▪ Ensuring comparability and transparency throughout the entire supply chain, and

▪ Reducing costs and time for both suppliers and retailers.


The IFS is divided into four main sections: audit protocol, technical requirements (which includes senior management responsibility, quality management system, resource management, etc), requirements for accreditation bodies, certification bodies and auditors, and reporting. The IFS program is recognized by the Global Food Safe Initiative (GFSI), and is also specified worldwide by many retail chains.

Why Choose IFS?

1. Competitive Advantage - IFS Certification can offer a number of key benefits to companies strivingfor excellence in quality and customer satisfaction, and seeking a competitive advantage within their marketplace.

2. Acceptance - Many retailers participated in the development of the standard, hence it’s widely accepted among major retailers.

3. Certification Bodies (CB) Oversight - CBs must hold a current EN 45011 accreditation in order to certify facilities according to the standard. This ensures IFS audit consistency is maintained by all accredited Certification Bodies worldwide.

4. Auditor Quality - an IFS professional auditor must meet fundamental requirements:

▪ audit experience (at least 10 audits in the last 2 years),

▪ effective knowledge of HACCP principles,

▪ qualification in quality management, and

▪ pass an oral and written exam.