Food Safety

IFS Food

Motivation and benefits

The “International Featured Standard Food” (IFS Food) was developed by German and French retailers for auditing private label suppliers. Since 2005, Italian trade associations have also been involved in the joint project.

IFS Food is no longer aimed solely at manufacturers of private labels, but is now recognized and valued as a food-specific quality assurance system for all food manufacturers.

IFS Food serves as a standardized verification of food safety and the quality level of producers. This standard aims to improve food safety and product quality, enhance consumer protection and confidence, as well as to increase cost efficiency in the food chain.

In short, the retailer‘s requirement in terms of IFS Food is to evaluate whether a food producer is able to produce safe products according to customer specifications and legal requirements.

  • A common standard with a harmonized scoring system
  • Proof of the food producer’s ability to meet food safety, legal and quality requirements
  • Approval of qualified certification bodies and auditors
  • Comparability and transparency throughout the supply chain
  • Cost reduction for both suppliers and retailers
  • Improvement of food safety and quality of products
  • Strengthening consumer protection and confidence
  • Increasing cost efficiency in the food chain
  • Mutual acceptance of the audits conducted
Target group

All manufacturing companies in the food industry, as well as companies that have to prove that they meet the product safety, quality and legal requirements of retail companies.


IFS Food is based on the Guidance document of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The goal of the GFSI is to establish international safety standards for suppliers of retail companies. To this end, the GFSI has compiled key criteria against which food safety standards are measured.

The requirements of the standards are structured as follows:

  • Governance and Commitment
  • Food Safety and Quality Management System
  • Resource Management
  • Operational Processes
  • Measurements, Analysis and Improvements
  • Food Defense Plan

The implementation of the requirements is intended to ensure that companies certified according to IFS Food are able to produce safe food according to customer specifications and legal requirements, and that they continuously improve their internal food safety management system.

The determination of results follows a precise scoring system. Four graded scores are available for the evaluation. These range from “A = full compliance with the standard requirements” to “D = the standard requirement is not met”.


Quality Austria - Trainings, Zertifizierungs und Begutachtungs GmbH has been accredited by Accreditation Austria since February 2006 according to ISO/IEC 17065 for certifications based on IFS and is thus the first Austrian certification body to be approved by the German Retail Federation (Hauptverband des deutschen Einzelhandels HDE).

Other relevant standards

ISO 9001, Annex to CAC/RCP 1-1969 (Rev. 4 - 2003), guideline EU 2016/C 278/01, ISO 22000, ISO/TS 22002-1/-2/-4/-5 (Prerequisite Programmes on Food Safety - Food Manufacturing/Catering/Food Packaging Manufacturing/Transport and storage), FSSC 22000, IFS Standards, BRCGS Standards

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