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IFS Integrity Program suspends certification body SAI Global Assurance


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#1 agnes

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 10:42 AM

 

Just received this email. Concerning to be honest...

 

 

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

after more than 5 years Integrity Program, the adaptation of the Annex 4 of the framework agreement, several control audits in certified companies, office audits in certification bodies and additional several IFS internal investigations of the IFS database the assessments of the IFS Quality Assurance Management in connection with a confirmation of the chairman (lawyer) of the sanction committees now resulted in the topic that due to several performance issues certification body SAI Global Assurance Services Ltd, UK has to be suspended for 3 months. This suspension time frame will start on 15th of June 2016.

This means that, from the time of suspension according to the Annex 4 of the framework agreement:
• The certification body SAI Global Assurance Services Ltd, UK is not permitted to issue certificates whilst suspended; no certification decision shall be made.
• The certification body SAI Global Assurance Services Ltd, UK is not permitted to schedule or perform audits whilst suspended.
• Sites with audits currently planned to be performed by certification body SAI Global Assurance Services Ltd, UK during the above notified suspension period have to be contacted by certification body SAI Global Assurance Services Ltd, UK. These sites should make arrangements with an alternative approved and accredited certification body for the scheme.
• A review has to be done of the processes operated by certification body SAI Global Assurance Services Ltd, UK to ensure the validity of their currently issued certificates. The content and extent of the review shall be based on the reason for the suspension.

This decision of IFS Integrity Program has no impact on all other IFS certified sites and certification bodies. But IFS Integrity Program has to ensure that the IFS standard requirements are always respected and the integrity of the whole IFS program is guaranteed.

IFS Office is aware, that this is a strict decision for the involved certification body SAI Global Assurance Services Ltd, UK. Nevertheless this decision is in accordance with the current valid Annex 4 of the Framework Agreement which was signed by all certification bodies.

Your IFS Team

 


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Agnes

#2 Simon

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 05:59 AM

Great news I must say.  

 

The success of third party certification relies on trust and integrity and if they've broken IFS rules they should be out of the game, named and shamed.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Regards,

Simon 


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#3 GMO

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 10:53 AM

Woah though... Woah!  That's really serious.  SAI do a lot of sites BRC audits, they are for some companies the BRC auditor of choice.  They also do some of the retailer audits in the UK as well.  You can bet if IFS have suspended them, every other standard and scheme will be taking a look.


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#4 ChristinaG

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:57 PM

Even though it is concerning to think that a certification body is being suspended, it is reassuring to know that they're being looked at. It's better consumer protection, and I think better protection for those production facilities using certification bodies to guarantee their food safety scheme is effective.

 

But now I'm wondering exactly what they did to earn the suspension....


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#5 RMAV

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 03:31 PM

It would be helpful to know what caused the suspension to help us being audited to watch out for problems in our own audits.  A suspension of this nature is very public and very damaging to the CB being suspended.  It would be fair to the CB being suspended if it were also public what the exact issue is/was.  It would also be appropriate for the CB to show what corrective actions are being taken.  As the letter posted stands, I would never select a CB that had been suspended without knowing the details.  It also paints every one of their auditors, including the innocent, in a very poor light. 

 

Assuming there were egregious violations, I think it's great a CB is being suspended but unfortunate for any honest auditors they have.  There is enough scrutiny of the 3rd party audits that integrity issues damage the whole system and cause us trying to do the right thing more work - which ironically can prevent us from more improvements when resources must be directed to additional audits.

 

Such is my view, anyway.


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#6 GMO

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 02:24 PM

It would be helpful to know what caused the suspension to help us being audited to watch out for problems in our own audits.  A suspension of this nature is very public and very damaging to the CB being suspended.  It would be fair to the CB being suspended if it were also public what the exact issue is/was.  It would also be appropriate for the CB to show what corrective actions are being taken.  As the letter posted stands, I would never select a CB that had been suspended without knowing the details.  It also paints every one of their auditors, including the innocent, in a very poor light. 

 

Assuming there were egregious violations, I think it's great a CB is being suspended but unfortunate for any honest auditors they have.  There is enough scrutiny of the 3rd party audits that integrity issues damage the whole system and cause us trying to do the right thing more work - which ironically can prevent us from more improvements when resources must be directed to additional audits.

 

Such is my view, anyway.

 

Yes good point.  I've been audited many times over the years by SAI Global auditors and I can say they varied from the impressive to the down right shoddy but in that regard, they were better than a lot of other CB.  There have been fewer and fewer shoddy auditors over the years but the odd one still crops up. 

 

I agree that publishing the reasons would be sensible.  Presumably the CB is welcome to do that themselves though so I wonder why they haven't?


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#7 Esther

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 10:19 AM

Dear all

 

Very interesting topic!!

 

Agree with most of the comments. Before establishing a conclusion about a CB ( SAI Global or any other) we should know the real reasons why it has been suspended. It is not the same to be suspended because a “ shape default” than a “ performance default”.

 

I must confess that SAI Global is one of the CB of my preference for the Food sector since its first name EFSIS. But also I can acknowledge that the auditing’s  prices ( certification audits, internal audits ) have fallen so much during the last years. AT the same time  EFSIS CB was getting bigger and bigger since aprox 2008 to become SAI Global CB which usually involved a higher infrastructure  costs of the whole company. This situation can lead to a poorer performance quality for any company.

 

I wonder if the person who share the letter can give us more information or any other person linked to SAI Global who has received any news directly from SAI Global CB.

 

Best regards

Esther


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