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Audit experience to become an IFS auditor


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#1 Drumstick

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 12:28 PM

Hi everyone,

First of all, thank you very much in advance for any answer you all can give me.

I've wanted to become a food safety auditor for a long time now. Recently, I tried to enrol on a IFS/BRC qualification program (which gives you the opportunity of witnessing audits and therefore fulfilling the IFS/BRC requirement of ay least 10 audits of experience); however, my application was denied because most of my working experience is on a pharmaceutical industry which also produces food (but they wasn't sure about the representativity of the processes so they said "no").
Now, a company has offered me a job as a suppliers auditor; the IFS auditor audit experience requirement says:
"10 complete audits performed by the auditor in the last 2 years at different sites (max. 3 audits per site)
Acceptance of GFSI recognised standards and e.g. audits on behalf of retailers (with confirmation)"
I really don't understand the second part ("Acceptance..."). If I conduct suppliers audits against IFS/BRC, do these audit count to become an IFS auditor?

Also, there's another requirement that worries me:

"Education and working experience:option 1: food related university degree + 2 years professional experience in the food industry in relation to food production activities"

Would working as a suppliers auditor count as "food industry in relation to food production activities"?

I would really appreciate your thoughts and advice in this matter.

Regards.



#2 Jpainter

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 07:59 PM

You should contact the qualification program that denied you originally to inquire about this. Nobody can give you a better answer of if experience will suffice than those making the final determination. 



#3 Drumstick

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:25 PM

You should contact the qualification program that denied you originally to inquire about this. Nobody can give you a better answer of if experience will suffice than those making the final determination.


Thank you very much Jpainter,

I understand what you're saying, and you're right: the company giving the qualification program could answer the question. However, also an IFS qualified auditor could know if second party audits count to (for example) adquire new scopes...

Regards.

#4 Jpainter

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:34 PM

I personally, believe that experience in 2nd party auditing would suffice,but only if it is done in food production facilities. The goal of the qualification program is to ensure that the potential auditor is comfortable in and knowledgeable about food manufacturing facilities. They want to ensure that you have spent sufficient time in a food processing facility to be able to quickly and accurately identify possible food safety issues, based on past experiences. For example, to an untrained eye, hollow stainless steel tubing could be missed as a potential food safety issue, whereas an auditor that has spent years in a production facility realizes that hollow tubing is a possible microbiological harborage zone. That is also why they include the two years in a production facility on top of an upper level education pertaining to food safety. 



#5 Drumstick

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 12:27 PM

Thank you very much, Jpainter, I really appreciate your thoughts. The thing is that I do have experience in food processing facilities, but as those facilities belong to a pharmaceutical company (the "mother" company), it seems that IFS technicians are not sure about the representativity of my experience (absolute nonsense, as we are FSSC22000 certified for food processing, perishable vegetable products scope). Anyway, before accepting a suppliers auditor role, I need to confirm that second party audits (against IFS/BRC stardands) count to become a IFS/BRC auditor.

In any case, I guess that I'll end up asking directly to IFS and/or BRC to be sure...but probably it will take forever to receive an answer.

Regards



#6 YanislavValev

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 01:47 PM

Hi there.
I see some time has passed since you post your question but still...
By ‘second party audits’ they mean audits on behalf of retailers - REWE, METRO, TESCO, Lidl, etc.
They all have their own check lists which include requirements that are very similar to what’s included in the GFSI recognized schemes. When you conduct such a second party audit, in order to be recognized by IFS, you get an official confirmation from the retailer.
You cannot be a second party ifs/brc auditor. There’s just not such a thing. Of course You could perform suppliers audits based on the ifs/brc check-lists for a random company but I’m pretty sure ifs would not accept this as a relevant auditing experience.
Also you could do a supplier audits for different companies like Danone let’s say, but they also usually have their own check lists. And probably a conformation is needed.
Another thing that I know is that the audits that count for general auditing experience should be at least one day long (8hrs) and should at least include HACCP. For example ISO 9001 audit wouldn’t be accepted unless it’s a combined audit - ISO 9001 + HACCP. Also for second party audits the evaluation process should contain grading and scoring (so it is kind of similar to IFS). I have seen that ifs has this document with guidelines on new auditors qualification and in it all types of acceptable audits (for general auditing experience) are listed.
Did you end up accepting the new job and is that be helpful in order the be an ifs auditor?

Regards,
Yanislav


Edited by YanislavValev, 28 July 2019 - 01:55 PM.


#7 Drumstick

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:32 PM

Hi YanislavValev,

 

Thank you very much for your reply, and sorry for the delay (I didn't receive any notification that someone replied to my post...). 

 

I don't know why I said "...to confirm that second party audits (against IFS/BRC stardands) count to become a IFS/BRC auditor". You're right, there's no such thing lol. Just forget the parenthesis part; the document you mentioned may be very interesting, as I could use it to know which audits would count and which wouldn't. I'll check it out, thank you for the tip :).

 

 

Regarding the job offer, no, I didn't accept it. Maybe I'll regret it (specially while IFS doesn't recognize my food industry experience), but I'll keep trying to have my audit experience by other ways.

 

Thank you again for your time :).



#8 YanislavValev

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 09:34 AM

Drumstick,

I managed to find that IFS document. I post it here and hope it will be in help to you and anyone else who think to start their preparation in order to become an IFS auditor.

I wish you luck!

Regards,
Yanislav


Edited by YanislavValev, 11 August 2019 - 09:35 AM.


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