Certified safety and quality of fresh food
Documented food safety and quality
Greater transparency in the production chain
Globally recognized seal of approval
Can be combined with other certifications
QS Certificate - important seal of approval for food retailers and manufacturers
QS certification was the meat industry's response to a decline in consumer confidence in its products. Originally, QS certification was therefore limited to meat and meat products. In the meantime, fruit, vegetables and animal feed can also be certified according to QS. The standards for the seal were developed by the German company "QS Qualität und Sicherheit GmbH". They are continuously checked for validity and up-to-dateness and regularly adapted.
The QS seal of approval covers the entire food production cycle. In this way, the entire production chain becomes transparent and traceable for consumers, from the field to the wholesaler, from the pig farm to the packaged steak in the supermarket.
Quality assurance carried out under the QS seal of approval is based on three control levels.
- Operational self-monitoring: All participants in the food chain ensure conscientious compliance with the requirements of the QS seal, and document their measures.
- Independent audits by approved auditors: The food producing and/or processing companies are comprehensively inspected and analyzed on the basis of defined criteria. These tasks are performed by QS-approved auditing organizations such as DQS. Regular inspections immediately reveal gaps in quality assurance. At the same time, monitoring programs ensure that laboratory tests are carried out regularly, and that all data are recorded in a structured manner.
- Control of control: With the help of a Permanent Internal Control System (PICS), the entire quality assurance process is checked again. The work of auditors is thus checked by a higher authority. This is a double assurance, which once again confirms the safety and quality of food products.
Audits and inspections follow a risk-oriented approach. If quality management errors occur more frequently, the intervals between individual inspections are shorter.
For which companies is QS certification suitable?
The following players in the food market can be certified according to QS:
- Food retail: Here, the quality and safety of food storage are primarily controlled. Factors such as personnel hygiene or storage temperature also play an important role.
- Meat industry: In meat processing plants, the auditors check, among other things, whether the cold chain is consistently maintained. The packaging of meat products and meat is also checked.
- Animal husbandry: In fattening farms or breeding operations, the auditors check, among other things, whether regular veterinary visits are made and whether the animals are kept in a species-appropriate manner as part of QS certification. The audits also include regular hygiene checks in stables or slaughterhouses. The transport of animals to the processing plant may also only be carried out by QS-certified companies.
- Feed producers: The focus here is primarily on the quality of the raw materials. These must be hygienically safe, must not contain any harmful substances and must be stored properly in order to meet the criteria of the QS seal.
- Fruit and vegetable farmers: These farms are also inspected as part of the QS audits. High demands are placed on quality and hygiene.
Can be combined with other certifications
The QS certificate is not mandatory. Nevertheless, it is now standard for many companies in the food sector. The certification also offers the advantage that it can be combined with other certificates or standards such as HACCP, ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. The auditors then usually need less time for the inspections, which reduces the effort required for the additional certifications.
Increase confidence in your products and processes
A QS certificate is an important confidence-building feature of a food product. You and your partners throughout the production chain have the opportunity to demonstrate your high standards of food quality and safety as a visible sign to the outside world and to document them transparently. This applies not only to food sold domestically, but also to products manufactured with partners from abroad. In this way, they give consumers an important signal and more security when buying food.
The process of a QS certification
In the first step, we exchange information about your company, your management system and field of activity in a personal meeting or by e-mail. Since the duration of the audit depends on the size and complexity of your company, we need some information from you, such as the number of employees. On this basis, you will promptly receive a detailed and transparent offer, tailored to your individual needs.
As soon as your company is ready, an audit date is set together with you, and approved auditors with the required competence and experience in your industry are selected. During the certification audit, our auditors assess, among other things, whether your management system meets the requirements of the standard and identify potential for improvement. In a final discussion, you will receive a detailed presentation of the results from your DQS auditor, including a description of the potential for improvement for your company. If necessary, action plans will be agreed upon.
Subsequently, a report on the audit will be prepared and your company will be evaluated.
The audit and its results are evaluated by the independent certification boardy of DQS, which decides on the issuance of the certificate. You will receive an audit report documenting the audit results. If there are any nonconformities, you will have the opportunity to correct them and take appropriate action at this time. If all applicable requirements are met, you will receive the certificate with a term of one year.
A follow-up audit can be conducted after six months, after 12 months, or after 24 months. Whether this is a surveillance audit or a recertification audit depends on your process level.