After two years of public consultation with all industry stakeholders, the Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) v6 was published on the 26th of April 2022. Follow along as we elaborate on the changes and how they will impact your food business.
What is the IFA standard?
The Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard is all about responsible farming practices and applies to fruit and vegetables, aquaculture, floriculture, livestock, and more.
The IFA standard takes a holistic approach to farm assurance. It is the most widely used GLOBALG.A.P. standard for good agricultural practices, and it also forms the basis for the GGN Label that stands for certified responsible farming and transparency.
What does the IFA v6 standard cover?
The IFA is a holistic standard and covers the following topics:
- Food Safety
- Legal, Management & Traceability
- Production Processes
- Environmental Sustainability
- Animal Health & Welfare
- Worker’s Well-being
What has changed in IFA v6?
A detailed summary of the changes can be found at this link here on the GLOBALG.A.P. website. Below, we provide a high-level overview of changes and updates to the standard.
The IFA v6 approach focuses on outcomes achieved rather than specific measures. This provides greater flexibility as it allows producers to demonstrate compliance in a way that is most appropriate for their production practices.
Producers will now only register for a single scope whereas, in the past, they used to register for a scope and sub-scope.
All plants will fall under one scope (including fruit and vegetables, flowers and ornamentals, combination crops, plant propagation material, tea, and hops).
Certificates for IFA v6 will also be issued at the scope level. For example, if a producer gets certified for both fruit and vegetables and flowers and ornamentals, they will receive one certificate for plants – with fruits and vegetables, flowers and ornamentals listed as product categories.
The IFA Requirement has also been divided into two subgroups: the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) benchmark recognised requirements (IFA GFS) and the non-GFSI benchmark recognised requirements (IFA Smart). Continue reading in the next section for more information on which edition of the standard you should implement.
“Control points” and “compliance criteria” from IFA v5 have been replaced by “principles” and “criteria” in IFA v6. The IFA Principles and Criteria are set out for each of these two subgroups, and additional information has been added for IFA GFS requirements where necessary.
Furthermore, principles will now be graded as Major Musts, Minor Musts, or Recommendations.
The General Regulations are now divided into smaller digestible documents which contain more explanatory information. These sub-sections include four different general regulations (i.e., individual requirements, flexible distribution, plant scope, and certification bodies), trademark use, and the food safety policy.
A three-year audit cycle rule (with annual certification and on-site CB audit) is now applicable to allow auditors to thoroughly observe the production processes while operations are ongoing.
For the first CB audit, all requirements are included in the applicable checklists — quality management system (QMS) and farm.
Provision has been made for complete off-site audits, however, they must be justified and can only take place under certain conditions, such as a producer being rated as low risk during the previous audit or having travelling regulations due to lockdown.
10% of audits by CBs must also be unannounced. This 10% no longer counts as additional audits but is included in the original number of certification audits.
Which edition of the standard should I implement, IFA Smart or GFS?
Customers will normally determine the standard that a producer should implement, and we recommended that you ask your customer directly which standard they require.
Below, we share a breakdown of some key differences between the IFA Smart and IFA GFS editions. You may also find the differences summarised in this document here.
The IFA v6 GFS is for those producers who need certification with GFSI recognition. This certification is driven largely by US markets and is not 100% outcome orientated.
The IFA v6 GFS certification has a few additional requirements that are important to note. For example, it has 15 more P&Cs (principles and criteria) graded as major-must P&Cs, whilst the corresponding P&Cs in the Smart edition are minor-must P&Cs.
There are also additional rules for audits for IFA v6 GFS certification, and the system participation fees for the GFS edition are higher.
The IFA v6 Smart is the flagship edition for the majority of producers and is 100% outcome-orientated with customisable checklists.
When do you need to be audit ready against the new requirements?
GLOBALG.A.P. announced the decision in July 2022 to extend the transition period for the obligatory use of IFA v6 from May 2023 to 1 October 2023. This version will become mandatory for all Plant Scope Registered GLOBALG.A.P. certificate holders from 01/10/2023.
Where can you find the audit requirements?
How can Entecom help you?
Entecom is proud to be a registered member of GLOBALG.A.P. with registered GLOBALG.A.P. trainers. We have a GLOBAL.G.A.P. training course based on the IFA v6 revised standard to help you understand the changes and how to implement the changes for your facility. We are also developing a digital GLOBALG.A.P. compliance solution based on IFA v6 that can be customised for your production products and processes – this will be launched soon.
Contact us at email@example.com to learn more about our GLOBALG.A.P. consulting, training, and digital compliance solutions.