IFS: The Details

Oct. 2, 2019

We've mentioned our IFS PACsecure certification multiple times across our blog posts, social media, and our website. However, we wanted to provide a little more detail into how the certification came about, what went into it, and what we do to maintain a high score. 

How did it come up?

The decision to get IFS PACsecure certified came up several years ago. We had started looking into regulatory requirements as the packaging industry in the US was requiring more accountability by brand owners concerning recalls throughout the food industry. The Canadian regulations would soon follow.

We wanted to continue being leaders in our industry and ensure that we were putting our clients and their customers first, offering them quality and assurance that their brand was safe. When looking for a standard that would suit us, IFS PACsecure was an easy choice as it was founded by PAC (Packaging Consortium), is a benchmark by GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), and is the primary standard that deals exclusively with food packaging.

What went into getting certified?

This was not a quick or easy process! We put together a team of members from across our company, from operators to executive managers. We wanted to ensure that each division of our company had a voice in the changes we were undergoing. This team went through two and a half years of bi-monthly meetings and tireless hours of research and documentation, as well as facilitating the change in infrastructure we needed to reach IFS requirements.

What was our score?

In March 2018, we passed our first audit with an impressive 93%. Since then, we've continued, as a team, to internally audit and refine our processes. This resulted in a grade of over 95% for this year's audit, which means a certificate at the higher IFS PACsecure level!

How do we maintain our IFS standards?

During the process of getting certified, we created a great deal of SOPs to ensure that we could stay on top of our IFS requirements. All daily activities are monitored across all three shifts at Associated, and the standard is audited internally and independently to ensure that everything aligns with the SOPs created. Some examples of this are our weekly premises checks for infestation across our buildings, regular maintenance of all of our machinery and equipment, and traceability through forms and internal documentation.