In order to create a common food safety standard, German food retailers from the HDE (Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels) developed a common audit standard in 2002 called International Food Standard or IFS. The aim of IFS is to create a consistent evaluation system for all companies supplying retailer branded food products with uniform formulations, uniform audit procedures and mutual acceptance of audits, which will create a high level of transparency throughout the supply chain.
Audits against the IFS standard are divided into two levels (Foundation Level and Higher Level). After clearing the higher level the organisation can apply for a recommendation.
Benefits of IFS:
- Operating costs drop as rework is reduced, efficiencies increase and penalties due to non-compliance reduce.
- Customers, employees, stockholders, regulators and competitors develop sustainable respect for an organisation which demonstrates its proactive commitment to food safety.