Version 7 of the IFS Food Standard was published on October 06, 2020. The revision is all about user-friendliness - with a focus on less bureaucracy, less documentation and clear requirements. In the following, we have summarized all the important changes for you. The time has come: IFS Food Version 7 has been published. Now companies have nine months to implement the new/modified requirements. IFS Food Version 7 comes into force on March 1, 2021 and will be mandatory for all certified companies from July 1, 2021.

The most important changes

IFS Food Version 7 brings the following key changes:

  • Greater focus on on-site assessment, less documentation, and a reduced number of requirements
    Several requirements related to documentation have been removed or merged. Documentation is still required in some areas, which includes HACCP, Food Fraud, and Food Defense. Other areas, such as Food Safety and Product Quality, Customer Orientation, and Food Safety Culture have been combined into one documentation requirement.
  • More precise designation
    The revised version is intended to be easily understood by all users. Therefore, the new version contains more descriptive elements, bullet points, definitions and clear wording. The term "audit" is replaced with the word "assessment" in the new version. In this way, IFS emphasizes the product and process approach, which is in line with the ISO/IEC 17065 standard.
  • Improved certification protocol structure
    The certification protocol of version 7 is restructured and describes the certification process in more detail. The structure of the assessment protocol is adapted to the assessment process and includes, among others, the items "Before the IFS Food Assessment", "Conducting the IFS Food Assessment" and "Activities after the IFS Assessment". Thus, it is better tailored to the needs of IFS stakeholders.
  • Clearly structured audit report and better defined assessment system
  • Every third certification audit is unannounced
  • Food safety culture has been included in the requirements
    Food safety culture is intended to positively influence food safety attitudes and behaviors throughout the organization.
    Here we have summarized all the important info on this topic for you.
  • A valid GLN (Global Location Number) becomes mandatory for suppliers in the European Economic Area (EEA)
    Companies in the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom (UK) need a valid Global Location Number for IFS Food 7 certification. The GLN simplifies communication between suppliers and retailers, as most retailers in these regions work with the GLN in their enterprise resource planning systems. The GLN also optimizes the security and verifiability of IFS certificates.
    As of February 2021, it will be possible to order the GLN through this website. Please note that companies must have a valid GLN when the first IFS Food Version 7 audit takes place. Therefore, the latest possible date for ordering is the date of the audit.
  • New e-learning courses, updated IFS auditXpressTM software and IFS Audit Manager app for internal assessments will help quality managers prepare for IFS Food Version 7
    You can download the updated tools here, probably from March 2021.

With the revision, IFS meets GFSI 2020.1 recognition criteria as well as FSMA and EU regulations. For more information on IFS Food 7, click here.


The new version 7 of IFS Food was released on 06 October 2020. From 01 March 2021 it will be possible to perform IFS Food V7 audits. IFS Food V 6.1 may still be used in parallel until June 30, 2021. From 01 July 2021, only audits according to IFS Food version 7 are permitted.

Dr. Thijs Willaert

Dr. Thijs Willaert is Global Director Sustainability Services. In this role, he is responsible for the entire ESG service portfolio of DQS. His areas of interest include sustainable procurement, human rights due diligence and ESG audits.


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