Audits in accordance with the IFS Logistics Standard Version 3 will be possible from June 1, 2024, and, following the six-month transition period, the new version will become mandatory from December 1, 2024. To help you prepare for the new edition, DQS auditor Dr. Sylvia Wegner-Hambloch has outlined the most important changes for you.

What was necessary?

The standard must take into account current requirements that are demanded by:

  • IFS Logistics Doctrine,
  • IFS-Logistics Multi-Site Guide,
  • Laws,
  • Codex Alimentarius,
  • GFSI guidelines and the benchmark procedure for "Storage and Distribution",
  • ISO 22003-2:2022 (Food safety - Part 2: Requirements for bodies providing evaluation and certification of products, processes and services, including an audit of the food safety system)
  • ISO/IEC 17065:2012 (Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services)

In addition, with this new version, the chapter division has been arranged as in IFS Food 8 to ensure that this standard is now compatible with the other IFS standards. 

 

Important changes to the requirements from version 2.3 to version 3

The IFS Logistics 3 standard consists of four parts:

Part 1 IFS Logistics certification protocol

Part 2 IFS Logistics audit checklist - List of IFS Logistics audit requirements

Part 3 Requirements for accreditation bodies, certification bodies and auditors - IFS accreditation and certification process

Part 4 Reporting, IFS software and IFS database

Attachments

Only the changes in Parts 1 and 2, which mainly affect companies, will be discussed below. Amendments made in Parts 3 and 4 - which describe the requirements for accreditation bodies, certification bodies, auditors, reports and the IFS software as well as the annexes - are not considered below. 

 

Changes to Part 1 IFS Logistics certification protocol

Part 1 of the IFS Logistic Revision has a new chapter structure. Version 3 now consists of four parts, and Part 5 on unannounced audits from Version 2.3 has been integrated into Part 1.

The scope of the standard describes the requirements for quality and safety of logistics activities such as transportation, storage, distribution, loading and unloading and now also includes:

  • short-term storage,
  • Transportation of containers,
  • logistical processing services.

Examples of the special conditions for exclusion from the audit scope are also given (exclusion rule).

The associated Annex 3 on product scopes and product groups contains a clear table of applicable products:

1 Food

2 Household and personal care products

3 Packaging materials

4 Various non-food products

New is an expansion to include animal feed and short-term processing services at the plant, such as simple sorting of fruits and vegetables according to quality aspects or labeling.

The minimum audit duration is still one day, whereby at least 50% of the total audit duration is planned for the on-site audit.

The audit time windows have not changed. Different types of audits are carried out depending on the certification status and cycle of the logistics location:

Initial audit: both announced and unannounced

Surveillance audit (recertification audit): both announced and unannounced renewal of certification

Follow-up audit: an announced on-site audit if the result of an initial or surveillance audit resulted in an overall score of ≥ 75% due to a major non-conformity

Extension audit: an announced on-site audit to extend the existing scope of the certification

The certification cycle has not changed the audit time window for planning the recertification audit. The audit time window continues to be eight weeks before and two weeks after the due date (last day of the initial audit) for an announced audit. For an unannounced audit, however, the audit time window begins 16 weeks before and two weeks after the due date.

The new requirement is now a mandatory unannounced audit within three years. The certification body decides on the year in which the mandatory unannounced audit takes place. The unannounced audit is now marked with a star (IFS Star status) on the certificate and in the database.

In the IFS assessment system, there are still six assessment options for each requirement (A, B, C, D, Major and KO) and the option of non-applicability (N/A). In version 3, the B assessment is again classified as a deviation. Companies must now define corrections and corrective actions in the action plan for B deviations.

The assessment of a KO requirement has changed: There are now only A and B deviations and a D non-conformity, a C deviation is no longer possible.

The IFS has provided a detailed brochure on the evaluation system on its website: The IFS Rating System Version 2.3

There are still six KO requirements, although in some cases their numbering or the requirement has changed. The KO on "Dealing with non-conformities and non-conforming products" has been deleted and the new KO on "Customer agreements" has been inserted instead:

KO No. 1: 1.2.1 Corporate Governance & Commitment (reformulated)

KO No. 2: 2.2.1.1 Product safety and quality management system (with more detailed requirements).

KO No. 3: 2.2.3.6 Monitoring system for each CCP

KO No. 4: 4.1.3 Customer agreements (NEW!)

KO No. 5: 5.1.1 Internal audit

KO No. 6: 5.9.2 Corrective actions

Changes in part 2 IFS Logistics audit checklist

There are now only five chapters in Part 2 of the revised IFS Logistics Standard; the sixth chapter of version 2.3 "Product Defense" has been merged with the new requirement on "Product Fraud" in subchapter 4.5. Compared to the previous version, the numbering has been adjusted in version 3, there are fewer requirements (132 instead of 153), requirements have been combined or deleted, 19 new requirements have been created and almost half of the requirements have been strengthened and expanded. For the certification audit according to version 3, this means extensive adjustments to the documents, records and handling.

A comparison of the two English IFS standards versions 2.3 and 3 can be downloaded as a PDF file under IFS_Logistics_v2.3-v3_checklist-comparison_EN on the IFS website.

 

New requirements for the food sector

In addition, detailed requirements have been added for the food and processing services sector (1.3.2, KO No. 2 2.2.1.1*, 2.2.3.9, 3.4.2), which are described in more detail in the individual chapters below.

 

New requirement for inspection frequency

There are new requirements regarding the frequency of inspections within a 12-month period or in the event of significant changes:

1.3.2 Review of infrastructure and work environment

2.2.3.10* Product safety management system verification procedures

4.2.1.2 Review of the supplier assessments

4.4.3* Test of the traceability system / mass balance

4.5.5 Review of product defense plan and product food fraud vulnerability assessment

In this case, there is a waiting period of three months, i.e. no exceeding of more than 15 months:

1.3.1* Management review

5.1.1* Internal audit

5.7.2 Internal testing for recall/withdrawal, by covering the end-to-end

process.

There are new requirements for "risk-based approach", which tighten up the previously "risk-oriented" approach.

According to ISO 9001:2015, "risk-based" means the identification, assessment and treatment of risks and opportunities, whereas "risk-oriented" merely means the consideration of risks in the process chain.

There are further requirements for "risk assessment" (5.1.1* KO No. 5 internal audit and 5.8.1 non-conforming products and packaging) and for "risk-based approach" (3.2.2 frequency of personal hygiene checks; 4.2.3.4 worst-case scenario; 4.7.2.1 maintenance and cleaning of ventilation systems; 4.8.2 hygiene requirements; 4.8.7 sampling plan to check the effectiveness of cleaning and disinfection; 4.11.1 monitoring plan for incoming goods; 4.12.2 checking transportation conditions).

 

List of new requirements in the individual chapters

New requirements and significant extensions are listed under the numbers (* indicates a mandatory entry in the audit report).

1 Corporate governance & commitment

1.2.4*: Requirement to inform the certification body within three working days of changes (e.g. location, company name) and specific situations (e.g. any product recall/withdrawal, any visit from authorities which results in action connected to product safety or product fraud).

(1.3: "Customer focus" from version 2.3 is now subchapter 4.1)

1.3.2: Review of workplace design including hygienic conditions where the processes require a higher hygiene control (for the food sector).

2 Product safety and quality management system

2.1.1.1: Requirement of a documented procedure for the control of documents and their amendments and indication of the reason for amendments to critical requirements

KO No. 2: 2.2.1.1*: extended "product safety management". The Codex Alimentarius also applies to the food sector

2.2.3.3: Extension to include radiological hazard

2.2.3.4: Extended by decision tree or other tools

KO No. 3: 2.2.3.6*: Review of CCP monitoring records by a responsible person within the company

2.2.3.7: Monitoring and recording control measures other than CCPs

2.2.3.9: Validation of the HACCP plan (for the food sector)

3 Resource management

3.1: Subchapter Human resources

3.4.2: Extended hand hygiene facilities (for the food sector)

4 Implementation of logistics services

4.1: Subchapter customer focus and contract review (corresponds in parts to subchapter 1.3 "customer focus" from version 2.3)

4.1.1: continuous improvement is expected as an input

KO No. 4: 4.1.3* Customer agreements

4.2.2.1, 4.2.3.1 and 4.2.3.3: Third-party service providers also permitted with a certificate in accordance with another equivalent GFSI-recognized standard

4.2.3.4: Parcel service provider (from Doctrine)

4.2.4: Subchapter with three requirements for partly outsourced logistics processing services

4.3.7*: Labelling

4.5: Sub-chapter on Product Fraud and Food Defense, created from the sixth chapter of version 2.3 "Product Defense" and the requirement on "Product Fraud" from clause 4.2.4.8 of version 2.3 (the "IFS Guideline Product Fraud Mitigation, Version 2.1" can be downloaded from the IFS website as a PDF file)

4.7.2.5: Contamination risk for water

4.8.2: Hygiene requirements for road tankers and equipment

4.14.2: Evidence for equipment and utensils that could have an impact on food

5 Measurements, analysis, improvements

5.5.1*: Criteria for quantity control

5.5.2: Monitoring of quantity control

When will IFS Logistics Version 3.0 come into force?

The application of the IFS Logistics Standard Version 3.0 is possible for audits that take place after June 1, 2024. However, they will become mandatory for all audits from December 1, 2024.

For unannounced audits, version 3 applies if the audit time window begins on or after October 1, 2024.

For audits at several locations (multi-location audits), the locations and the head office must be audited according to the same version.

In some exceptional situations, version 2.3 may also apply after December 1, 2024 (e.g. follow-up audits, extension audits or if the main audit took place before December 1, 2024 according to version 2.3)

 

Where can I find the new standard?

IFS Logistics, Version 3, is currently only available in English on the IFS website. You can download the standard directly here. According to IFS Management GmbH, translations in other languages will follow at a later date.

 

DQS - Your partner for IFS Logistics certification

DQS is an accredited certification body for the IFS Logistics Standard. With qualified auditors all over the world, we are at your disposal.

 

What DQS can do for you

  • Workshops
  • Pre-assessments to identify any gaps
  • Certification according to IFS Logistics Standard Version 3
Author
Dr. Sylvia Wegner-Hambloch

Dr. Wegner-Hambloch has 10 years of experience in the food industry. She has worked in central quality assurance, was managing director of a service company for six years and was head of the working group "Quality Management and Hygiene" of the Food Chemical Society for 20 years. In 2003, she founded the company "SLQ-Systeme für Lebensmittelsicherheit und Qualität" (SLQ Systems for Food Safety and Quality) and has since been active as a consultant and trainer for the food industry and as a DQS auditor.

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