IFS Broker certification: what it is and why it matters

All you need to know about IFS Broker certification

Monday 11 March 2024

Companies acting as intermediaries in the food supply chain play a crucial role in ensuring that products reach final consumers safely and in compliance with regulations. IFS Broker certification is one of the most important certifications in the industry and has been developed precisely to ensure that food intermediaries comply with all the safety and quality standards required in the food distribution chain.

IFS Broker is one of the standards issued by the IFS (International Featured Standard) brand and implies strict compliance with documented requirements, operating procedures and food safety protocols established by the International Featured Standards. Through this certification, companies can guarantee their customers that the products treated have been managed safely and in compliance with internationally accepted quality standards. IFT has recently obtained the IFS Broker certification, confirming a constant commitment to the safety and quality of plastic equipment for the food industry.

Let’s see more specifically what IFS Broker certification is, its requirements, the benefits it offers and why it is so important for companies operating in the food industry.

What is IFS certification?

The IFS certification is a global recognition that certifies the conformity of products and processes in relation to food safety and quality. This certification is issued by the IFS, a recognized international organization in the food sector, and applies to all suppliers in the food processing stages following the agricultural one, establishing strict standards for the control of foodstuffs throughout the production and distribution chain. 

The IFS standard involves a detailed process of evaluating business practices, production processes, risk management and compliance with health and hygiene standards. The requirements refer to the quality management system and the HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) system, supported by a set of requirements GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) and GHP (Good Hygiene Practice). IFS today presents six different standards, recognised worldwide. The best known is the IFS Food (published in 2003), but over the years other Standards have been published, including IFS Broker

The IFS Broker certification represents the standard for the audit of compliance in the intermediation, marketing and import service of food products and packaging materials. The certification award is based on a detailed assessment conducted by qualified IFS auditors, who work for accredited independent certification bodies. The IFS Broker audit verifies that the intermediary has implemented adequate processes to ensure that the products of its suppliers comply with the laws and specifications of the customers' products. 

Requirements of the IFS Broker Standard

The IFS Broker Standard sets out the specific requirements that food brokers must meet to obtain IFS Broker certification. These requirements cover several areas of assessment, including:

  • implementation of appropriate processes: companies must demonstrate that they have implemented appropriate processes for the management of products, including the processes of purchase, reception, storage and distribution; 
  • compliance with legal standards: it is essential that companies comply with all relevant national and international regulations concerning food safety and product quality; 
  • customer product specifications: companies must ensure that products delivered to their customers meet the required specifications, including product quality, safety and integrity; 
  • supplier management: it is important that companies establish procedures to evaluate and monitor their suppliers in order to ensure that they meet the same high standards of safety and quality; 
  • product traceability: companies must be able to trace products along the entire distribution chain, from source to final consumer, in order to ensure the safety and quality of products throughout the supply chain; 
  • risk management: companies must identify and manage the risks associated with food management, including the risks of contamination or deterioration; 
  • staff training: it is essential that staff are properly trained and aware of the requirements and procedures established to ensure product safety and quality; 
  • continuous monitoring and improvement: companies must establish an internal monitoring and audit system to assess the effectiveness of their processes and make improvements where necessary. 

Advantages of IFS Broker certification

The IFS Broker certification offers a number of significant benefits for companies operating in the food industry. First, it is a guarantee of reliability and quality, as it shows that the company has adopted high standards in the management of products along the entire distribution chain. In addition, IFS Broker certification can facilitate access to new markets, national and international, where compliance with food safety standards is a fundamental requirement for the import and distribution of products, enabling IFS-certified companies to expand their customer base and increase their sales.

The IFS Broker certification also promotes transparency and traceability of products throughout the distribution chain. This not only ensures the safety and quality of production, but can also help to improve risk management and prevent problems such as food fraud and contamination. Finally, the IFS Broker certification process involves an improvement of production processes, allowing companies to evaluate and improve their internal processes. This can lead to greater operational efficiency and better risk management.

IFT is an IFS Broker certified company

IFT is one of the IFS Broker certified companies, a result that testifies to the constant commitment to ensure the safety and quality of all plastic equipment for the food industry, and the application of strict standards at every stage of the production and distribution process. The certification has been obtained through the implementation of protocols and procedures compliant with IFS standards, ensuring that every step of the food supply chain is managed with the utmost care and compliance. 

IFT also ensures full traceability and a quality management system aligned with national and international regulatory standards. All plastic materials used for the production of food equipment are carefully selected and subjected to compliance tests to ensure maximum safety in contact with food. The products are manufactured in full compliance with the main standard for the safety of plastic materials in contact with food, according to the criteria established by the national ministerial decree of 21/03/1973 and s.m. and the EC directives on contact with food, including EC Regulation 10/2011, EC Regulation 1935/2004 and 2023/2006.