GFSI does not explain the reason for the suspension in its publication of the suspension decision. IFS can appeal this decision. This possibility is laid down in the GFSI rules. For interested parties, such as IFS-certified companies, GFSI has published a list of questions and answers (FAQ). This explains the consequences of the suspension and what actions affected companies should take:
Is your company IFS-certified and does not need to be audited during the suspension period? Then no action is required.
Should IFS regain its GFSI recognition after 8 March, certificates issued based on audits carried out between 8 December and 8 March will remain non-GFSI-recognized.
IFS states on its website and in a letter to its stakeholders that its professionalism on food safety is not in question with GFSI.
Clearly, IFS is taking steps to challenge GFSI’s decision, engaging its lawyers. IFS also reports that retailers and wholesalers affiliated to the IFS network have indicated that they will accept IFS certificates originating from the suspension period.
Validity of IFS certifications
If you are currently certified for IFS, you do not need to take any action. The GFSI recognition of a current certificate from your site remains valid until the certificate’s expiry date. This applies to IFS audits conducted before 8 December 2022. IFS audits performed during the period of suspension are not covered by the GFSI recognition. This applies to all IFS standards.
While the process between IFS and GFSI is worked out, it is important to recognize that certificates will still be valid, and audits may still continue to occur. Our recommendations are as follows:
Monitor https://mygfsi.com/ for up-to-the-minute updates as they are published.
Ensure your customers are aware of the current situation. Assure them your systems still meet the IFS requirements if you are currently certified. Verify language in existing customer contracts around any GFSI-recognized standards. Consult your internal legal affairs for guidance.
Currently, scheduled and confirmed audits are expected to continue as normal. While we do not know what the future may hold in regard to IFS’s relationship with GFSI, you can be assured of your continued partnership with Mérieux NutriSciences.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide any additional updates as they come.
If you have questions on the matter, do reach out to your trusted contact person at KTBA.