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BRC/IFS Certification

Two essential food standards for suppliers to retail


Demand for food safety is growing. Consumers and authorities increasingly demand that the food we eat should offer high levels of quality and security. If a problem occurs, the source of error needs to be found quickly and the problem rectified. Demands are typically directed to the retail trade first, but responsibility now spreads through the entire food chain to include food producers, primary producers and transporters.


What are BRC and IFS?

These food quality and safety standards are published by retail trade groups. Any company wishing to supply its food products to those retailers must meet the required standards. The retailers request that an independent third party approves the quality and food safety system of the supplier.

What are the key benefits?
- Access to your markets in the UK, Germany and France
- Strengthened relationships with retail distributors
- Increased transparency
- Reinforced customer confidence
- Streamlined production
- Minimization of significant food risks
- Effective control of internal processes and minimizing risk of failure
- Signal sent about a proactive approach to food safety
- Focus kept on your essential challenges


Food Expertise Bureau Veritas Certification can help every player in the food supply chain to meet the highest standards of Quality, Health & Safety and Environmental compliance. Recognition Bureau Veritas Certification is accredited worldwide for these food safety schemes through the international accreditation body UKAS (BRC), as well as COFRAC and DAR (IFS). Network We operate in more than 100 countries. This global presence means that our clients can receive the double advantage of international expertise combined with a genuine depth of local knowledge (language, culture, laws, customs, etc.) ensuring a high quality audit. Mark of global recognition The Bureau Veritas Certification Mark is a globally recognized symbol of your organization’s ongoing commitment to excellence, sustainability and reliability. Combined services Bureau Veritas Certification offers the possibility of combined certifications to the largest range of recognized standards, bringing consistency, optimization and efficiency.


  • What do they cover?

    - BRC (British Retail Consortium). This standard published by the union of British supermarket chains, the BRC, requires documented approval to ensure food quality and safety. Retailers include Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's. - IFS (International Food Standard). This food quality and safety standard is published by the union of German supermarket chains, HDE (Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels). It has been adopted by the French equivalent, the FCD (Fédération des entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution). Retailers include Aldi, Lidl and Metro.

  • What are the main differences between BRC and IFS?

    Both standards are aimed at retailers’ suppliers. Their goal is the same but the paths to achieve that same goal are different. The base of each audit is quite similar but the criteria and their levels differ. A scoring and ranking system exists for IFS but not for BRC. These similarities enable a third party to perform combined audits. However the required reports are so different, there is no potential time saving in reporting on both standards. The 15 to 20% difference between BRC and IFS can be considered to come from cultural differences. For example, BRC will allow certification of a supplier with a major non-conformity, provided this supplier submits objective evidence that the non-conformity has been corrected within 28 days. On the other hand, IFS will never allow the delivery of a certificate if there is a single major non-conformity.


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