Schouten achieves Higher Level within IFS broker certification

Schouten has been successfully certified for the IFS Broker certificate on 3rd November 2020. “The assessment process has been completed and we are proud to announce that the IFS Broker Certificate has been obtained”, says Laura van Tiel, QA/QC manager at Schouten. Because of the high score, Schouten has reached the Higher Level certificate. Schouten has been IFS certified since 2016, with the aim of guaranteeing the (food) safety of its vegetarian and vegan products.

Laura van Tiel - QA/QC Manager

“By obtaining our IFS certificate it acknowledges our commitment to the quality of our products and processes: we market good and safe products. In addition to that, I am extra proud of our entire team at Schouten for achieving this Higher Level certificate within IFS.”

Laura van Tiel – QA/QC manager

You often hear about companies obtaining certifications. But what does it mean exactly? And why is it so important?

Woman shopping supermarket

Why do these certifications exist?

Certifications have emerged to reduce the amount of customer visits and audits. Certifications like IFS make sure that all of those different audits are no longer needed. It provides a good basis with regard to food safety and product liability. It shows that, as a company, you are marketing safe products. But being in possession of a food safety certificate is nowadays also a minimum requirement from customers.

Meat substitutes: High care production and packaging facilities

What are the requirements?

In addition to the legal requirements set by the government, certification also imposes additional requirements on a company’s organisation, product and quality system. There are for instance requirements regarding food safety, but also for the prevention of food fraud. In addition, a certificate gives insight into the business operations and introduces important practical suggestions for improvement. For example, the IFS certification sets requirements for the entire organisation: The purchasing and quality departments are involved. But so are the HR and administration departments.

What is IFS?

IFS Standard was first introduced in 2003. IFS stands for International Featured Standards, also known as Internation Food Standard. The purpose of this certification is to guarantee safe consumer products, particularly for suppliers of retailers in the food industry.

There are a number of certifications possible for the retail sector. But Schouten has been certified for the IFS certification. The International Featured Standards (IFS) – Broker has been developed by the IFS organisation in 2010.

The IFS certification is recognised internationally and is also known as the German or French counterpart to the English BRC standard. The IFS certification also has the backing of many Italian retailers and fits in well with Schouten’s customer base.

Wat is IFS Broker?

IFS Broker is intended for companies and importers, without their own production, logistics or storage. Because Schouten cooperates intensively with its production sites, but does not own the production sites itself, Schouten is covered by the IFS Broker certification.

IFS Broker: what is expected of a company?

Laura: “Schouten is audited annually by an external auditor. Last year, the IFS standard was tightened up to a renewed version. When the new elements of this standard were published, we immediately integrated them into our business operations, quality system and working procedures. Because we were on time with establishing clear working methods, we were able to meet all the requirements of this revised IFS version. This helped us achieve this great IFS certification with Higher Level.”

Would you like to take a peek into the kitchen of our Quality department? Read the interview with Sanne, our senior QA/QC specialist.

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