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Ensure product integrity with IFS PIA

There have been several high-class cases of food fraud which have shaken consumer confidence on a global scale. Well-known examples are horse meat instead of beef, thistle instead of saffron, and more generally claims on products that prove to be wrong. Retailers are using various types of supplier product integrity assessments to gain an insight into the status of their own-branded products, .

IFS has developed the IFS Product Integrity Assessment (PIA) with the following objectives:

  • Harmonization of retail needs in terms of food fraud and integrity
  • To offer added value to producers by examining integrity risks in detail in the producer’s product group.

How was IFS PIA Version 1 developed?

In 2017, the Dutch retailers Jumbo and Superunie began to specify topics that  formed the basis of the IFS PIA Assessment. Together with other industry experts, the assessment was further developed and the first test assessments were carried out. AH joined the group in 2018.

In 2018, a total of 15 test assessments were conducted to obtain input from suppliers. The results of these assessments were analysed and any necessary changes to the existing process were reviewed with input from retailers, resulting in the finalized IFS PIA Version 1.

If there is one thing that has emerged from the IFS-PIA assessment, it is to consider this a fully-fledged system focusing on food fraud and product integrity. Many points overlap with food safety systems, but you really should look at your raw materials, suppliers and processes from a different perspective.

IFS PIA has given us a strong understanding of risks and Integrity. What it means and how we will implement it within our company.

The assessment was very helpful for us. We had already done a lot for product integrity but we could not manage to provide documentation for it. After the IFS PIA Assessment, we were able to solve this issue.

Following the IFS PIA assessment, we gained a pretty good understanding of product integrity risks. However, there were measures that could be implemented to raise awareness of product integrity risks within the company.

What is IFS PIA and what is it not?

IFS PIA is not a certification standard.
It is also not a repetition of an audit focusing on food safety.
IFS PIA is concerned with limiting risks of deliberate deception and fraud in the composition of a product.
It is an in-depth assessment of how a manufacturer has identified and protected the risks of fraud and integrity. It aims to build trust between a supplier and their customers. Producers can determine to what extent they want to meet the requirements. Customers and retailers can determine what they expect from their suppliers and what level of compliance they consider acceptable.

IFS PIA aims to improve product integrity in the supply chain. The auditor does not just look at a company’s production to assess product integrity. Administrative processes, supply chain transparency and the management of specific food fraud risks for raw materials also play an important role. The product integrity management system for products from a specific site is the scope of the assessment.

Detailed information about IFS-PIA can be found here.

A unique approach based on knowledge and risks

The IFS Product Integrity Assessment has a unique approach.

Before the on-site assessment takes place, the assessor has to familarise him- or herself with the associated specific fraud and integrity risks. Additional attention points within the assessment can be individualized by the participating retailers. In this way, each assessment is targeted and tailored to the client’s needs.

An IFS Product Integrity Assessment contains the following elements:

  1. A general assessment applicable to companies in all product categories.
  2. An intensive investigation of the specific fraud and integrity risks in a particular food sector.
  3. The ability for retailers to include specific risk issues.

More information for

INDUSTRY

Here you will find useful information about IFS PIA: the registration process, the evaluation itself and how to prepare for it. You can also find out more about the qualification and assessment process and how a report looks like.

RETAILER

Are you a retailer? Here you will find specific information about the IFS PIA Program: the evaluation, registration process, letters of confirmation and the evaluation report. Or you can find out more about how to use the IFS Database.

IFS PIA UPDATES

We will inform you regularly about new developments with IFS PIA. On this page you will find news, events and all the up to date information about the program.