In this article, we’re going to continue to look at our comparison of GFSI recognised schemes, as an alternative to BRCGS.

Previously we looked at FSSC22000, IFS and SQF as Alternative GFSI recognised schemes to BRCGS.  The vote as to which Standard was the least suitable alternative was a landslide, with the results as follows.

The Standard which is the LEAST suitable alternative to BRCGS is:

FSSC22000: 16%

IFS: 11%

SQF: 79%

Therefore, we are removing SQF from the comparison.

Data correct as of 20th July 2020

What’s next?

A number of really good points have been raised in the comments of the last article about how the duration of the audit is calculated.

A small site, which BRCGS define as less than 10,000m2 is 18 hours, over 2 or 2.5 days.

A large site, which BRCGS define as more than 25,000m2 is 20 hours, over 2 or 2.5 days.


If you consider 50% of the audit should be in the factory, this means that:

A small site would require 9 hours in the factory if the 50% rule was applied (compared to 10 hours in a large site).

There is the option for small sites to reduce factory time to 30%, which is just under 5.5 hours.

But this means that the extra 3.5 hours must still be applied.  Therefore, a small site would have 12.5 hours on systems, compared to a large site which would have 10 hours.

How does that make sense?


Comparison of audit duration

Given the above, one of the key elements of comparison has to be audit duration. So, let’s look at that first.

Please note to keep it simple we’ve compared the FSSC22000 Food Standards and the IFS Food Standard. As we’re presuming that the comparison of the two food Standards, will work for all the other Standards such as Packaging, Storage and Distribution, and Agents and Brokers.

All of the calculations below are shown in hours. For all three Standards an audit day is based on 8 hours, not taking breaks into consideration.

Up to 50 employees
Up to 2 product scopes (HACCPs)
BRCGS FoodFSSC22000 FoodIFS Food
1 scope + low risk process<10,000m2 = 18 hours
>25,000m2 = 20 hours
Surveillance audit: 8 hours
Recertification audit: 13 hours
10 hours
2 scopes + 1 low risk process<10,000m2 = 18 hours
>25,000m2 = 20 hours
Surveillance audit: 8 hours
Recertification audit: 12 hours
14 hours
2 scopes + 1 low risk and 1 high risk process<10,000m2 = 18 hours
>25,000m2 = 20 hours
Surveillance audit: 9 hours
Recertification audit: 17 hours
18 hours

FSSC22000 audit duration formula

Ts + TFSSC = audit duration

TFSSC is calculated as follows:

< 250 employees and up to 2 product scopes (HACCPs) = 0.5 day

> 250 employees and up to 2 product scopes (HACCPs) = 1 day

TS is calculated using the equation TD+ TH+ TMS+ TFTE


Unfortunately, we can’t share with you how the calculation works, as you have to buy ISO/TS 22003:2013 in order to have access to how it works. As this Standard is CHF 118 (which is nearly £100), it’s controlled by copyright and therefore we can’t share it with you. We can only share the result of the calculation with you.


Comparison of audit frequency

BRCGS FoodFSSC22000 FoodIFS Food
Grade B or better: 12 monthlySurveillance audit: 12 monthlyFoundation level: 12 monthly
Grade C or worse: 6 monthlyRecertification audit: 3 yearlyHigher level: 12 monthly


Comparison of typical practical audit duration

BRCGS FoodFSSC22000 FoodIFS Food



When comparing the information, you can see that both FSSC22000 and IFS audits are shorter than BRCGS and if you’re a low grade site are also less frequent. The IFS Standard also spends less time in the factory, so if you’re a small site it looks like it would be a better fit.

Having performed the research needed to do this comparison, the information was easy to find and digest for the IFS. FSSC22000 was a bit of a headache and the fact that you have to buy Standards to be able to get the information you need, doesn’t really sit well with us.  Plus, the fact that we can’t share the information with you, is totally against our philosophy.


Voting time!

The results of FSSC22000 and IFS are close at this stage, so we feel that we should take them both forward to the next stage, to compare the actual detail of the Standards.

But, we’d like to know what your thoughts are at this stage.

Please vote to let us know which Standard you would choose, as your replacement to BRCGS.

Sorry voting has now closed for this stage....
The results were 52% for IFS and 48% for FSSC22000

Have your say…

5 thoughts on “FSSC22000 and IFS audit protocol compared to BRCGS

  1. We are a low risk site with less than fifty staff so it looks as though ISF would be the perfect choice for our site.
    Because we only have one HACCP plan and the process is relitivly simple it could easily be done over a one day period but BRC class us as a day and half. This results in them wondering around the site looking for things that aren’t there.

  2. Will a similar comparison be made between Agents and Brokers Standards and the amount of time spent at what are usually very small sites?

    1. Hi Chris
      Unfortunately FSSC22000 doesn’t have an Agents & Brokers Standard, so we can’t compare them for you. The only option would be to go with the IFS Brokers Standard. Although it’s up the CB to define the duration depending on risk, the typical audit duration for this Standard is 6 hours.

  3. For me it has to be FSSC based on audit length alone.
    Before we get too hung up on copyright and cost of the standard, remember that BRC just hid the cost in subs/participate and also used copyright to effectively shutdown an early competitor (EFSIS)

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