This is the fourth and last article in our BRCGS and IFS comparison series. In this article, we are looking at the Storage & Distribution Standards.

If you’d like read back over the previous articles on this topic you can do that here:

Comparison and gap analysis of BRCGS Food Safety and IFS Food

Comparison and gap analysis of BRCGS Packaging and IFS PACSecure

Comparison and gap analysis of BRCGS Agents & Brokers with IFS Brokers

IFS Logisitics comparison

As with the previous three, to make it simple to read, we’ll follow the same format and divide the information into three headings:

  1. What’s new
  2. What’s different
  3. What’s not included

We’ll only be highlighting the big changes, and where the IFS Standard doesn’t cover a subject, it’ll be covered in, ‘Topics not included’. Where you’re covering small additional requirements in BRCGS, it means you’ll be over compliant for IFS, so we’re not going to worry about the little changes at this stage.

What’s newWhat’s differentTopics not included
1. Senior management commitment
Senior management need to ensure that the QMS is reviewed annually, and whenever there is a change. And, this must be data driven based on verification measures.

There must be review each year to create an investment plan for infrastructure and the working environment.

The company must have an IFS representative, who has a direct reporting line into senior management.

Responsibility for external crisis communications must be assigned to a specific role.

There must be a procedure for reporting of incidents to customers, including regulatory notices.

Topics for the policy include environmental responsibility and sustainability.






2. Document management
A procedure which covers customer expectations and objectives.

Customer contracts are required.

Amendments must be carried out by authorised personnel and in digital systems must be traceable to the person who digitally signed.
3. Continuous improvement
Procedure for management and verification of corrective actions.

There must be a procedure for management of non-conforming products and notifying relevant parties.

The non-conforming product procedure must be tested at least annually.

Complaints investigations are required.

The term ‘corrective action’ seems to be used when referring to both corrective and preventive actions. However, the term preventive measures is also used, which is confusing.

There is no definition for preventive measures, but the definitions provided are:

Correction: Action to eliminate a detected non-conformity or deviation.

Corrective action: Action to eliminate the cause of a detected non-conformity, deviation or other undesirable situation.

4. Contingency
Customers need to be notified in the event of serious incidents.
5. Hazard analysis
The team must have strong senior management support.

Control points (CP’s) are required, which is the IFS version of an OPRP.



The hazard analysis is safety focused only.
6. Contamination control
Controls for product contact compressed air is required.Strongly scented chemicals.

Controls are based on risk, so there are no specific requirements for sharps, pens, debagging or deboxing, metal detection, filters or sieves, glass containers etc.

7. Product development
8. Supplier management
A list of approved suppliers is required.There is no prescriptive method for approval of suppliers.
9. Testing
Measuring devices must be identified (e.g. on a list).
10. Maintenance
Equipment must be fit for purpose, designed so that it can be cleaned and maintained (including trunking).

Maintenance materials must be suitable for the use.

Equipment failure should prompt a planned preventive maintenance (PPM) review.

11. Product defence
Product defence lead with responsibilities is required.

Access control is required if determined by risk assessment.

Tamper procedures.

Product security should be included in visitor, contractor and driver procedures.

No vulnerability assessment.
12. Training
Trainers must be qualified.Basic food hygiene training must be carried out at least once per year.
13. Personnel
Personal hygiene, PPE etc. rules are applied based on risk – they are not specified.
14. Site standards
15. Microbiologically controlled facilities
16. Hygiene
The cleaning system must cover external areas and transport containers.

Verification of cleaning must be required.

Waste containers must be fit for purpose, clearly marked, cleaned and maintained.

Pest control is not prescriptive but should be applied based on risk.Waste controls specific to trademarked products.
17. Process control
Much more focus on the practicalities of making sure the process works – based on data.

Traceability test must be performed following changes to the system.

18. Storage & distribution
Load quantity controls.

Customer requirements for allergens, GMO etc must be applied.

Temperature monitoring of the internal temperature of the vehicle during transportation.

Freeze and thawing controls required.

Pallet inspection.

Doesn’t specifically mention positive release.



  • Like the food comparison IFS is a lot less wordy than BRCGS.
  • The IFS Standard is proving to be very consistent across the different subjects. Because it’s based on risk, the application of the Standard is the same.
  • IFS isn’t as prescriptive as BRCGS, so it’s open to interpretation (rightly or wrongly).
  • There is no interpretation guide for IFS.
  • The IFS Standard focuses much more on the site understanding their own risks and developing systems to meet them, rather than prescribing what’s right.


What do you think?

So, what are your thoughts on IFS and the work that would be needed?

What do you think about the additional requirements?

What do you think about the topics that are not included?

Share your thoughts with your fellow techie’s and add them to the comments box below.

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