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Unannounced audits for IFS and BRCGS standards

GFSI requirement: unannounced audits become mandatory

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a private organisation that operates a system for benchmarking food safety standards for manufacturers. It was founded with the aim of finding solutions to food safety hazards. The GFSI pursues the harmonisation of certification systems and develops requirements which are laid down in so-called Benchmarking Requirements. The aim is to harmonise the different standards.

GFSI has published the 2020 version of the Benchmarking Requirements. For all companies certified according to IFS or BRCGS, there will therefore be a major change in 2021: unannounced audits will become mandatory for GFSI-recognised standards.

unannounced audits IFS and BRCGS Standards unannounced audits IFS and BRCGS Standards unannounced audits IFS and BRCGS Standards unannounced audits IFS and BRCGS Standards

GFSI accepted Standards

  • BRCGS Food Version 8
  • BRCGS Packaging Version 6
  • BRCGS Agents & Broker Version 2
  • BRCGS Storage & Distribution Version 4
  • IFS Food Version 6.1 & Version 7
  • IFS Broker Version 3
  • IFS Logistic Version 2.2

Unannounced audits at IFS and BRCGS at a glance

FAQs on unannounced audits

How often is the unannounced audit carried out?

An unannounced audit must be carried out once every three years.

What is the timetable for the introduction of unannounced audits at IFS and BRCGS?

For the standards IFS Food and IFS Logistic, unannounced audits must be carried out from 1.1.2021. For the BRCGS standards this obligation exists as of 01.02.2021. Exception is the BRCGS Storage & Distribution, where the requirement only becomes obligatory with version 4 as of 01.05.2021.

What is the scope of the unannounced audit?

The audit scope corresponds to that of a regular audit.

What is GFSI?

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a private organisation founded in May 2000 under Belgian law by the international trade association, the Consumer Goods Forum. The GFSI maintains a system for benchmarking food safety standards for producers and standards for quality assurance on farms. Under the umbrella of the GFSI, eight major retailers (Carrefour, Tesco, ICA, Metro, Migros, Ahold, Wal-Mart and Delhaize) agreed in June 2007 on a common acceptance of the food safety programmes evaluated by the GFSI. More information can be found at https://mygfsi.com/

What is the decision to carry out an unannounced audit?

As a customer of TÜV NORD CERT you can decide to carry out an unannounced audit after your normal, planned audit has been carried out. There are two ways to do this:

  1. On the one hand, you can inform your auditor directly after the audit that the next audit is to take place as an unannounced audit.
  2. Secondly, you can send a message to the team assistant responsible for your company within 3 months of the last audit date.

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