Every time you go to the supermarket, you scan the aisles for items on sale, the makings of your next meal, and maybe a treat or two. You make your way to the deli counter to order cold cuts and move on to the butcher to ask for some of the thick-cut steaks in the display case.
While that may sound like a typical trip to the store, have you ever asked yourself why you chose that store with that deli or that butcher? Often it’s a matter of convenience. It’s easier to go to one location rather than making a special trip to an independent deli or a free-standing butcher shop. You may no longer opt for convenience alone, however, when you find a store that participates in the IFS Food Store program.
Maybe you’ve been to stores where you’ve seen evidence of food safety practices, such as deli workers wearing gloves or a butcher wearing a protective apron, but noticed each store seems to have its own variation. Some may seem quite conscious of safe food-handling practices and others not so much. In spite of the potential impact on the quality of your food, there is no widely enforced universal code of conduct.
What To Look For
The IFS Food Store program is intended to uphold certain standards to ensure that we get the highest quality food products. The mission of IFS – short for International Featured Standards – is to set the highest standard for safe products for consumers. The IFS Food Store program was designed by retailers and acquired by IFS. It is based on best global practices in the deli, on-site butcher, seafood, and other grocery operations. IFS standards are benchmarked to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) when a benchmark is available.
To participate in the IFS Food Store program, the retailor must undergo an inspection by an inspection body that is accredited by an IFS-recognized accreditation body. ANAB is the only accreditation body in the Americas recognized to provide accreditation for IFS Food Store program inspection bodies.
Consumers can be assured that participating retailers meet the highest standards possible, including those relating to best hygienic practices and relevant regulations and requirements. Consumers can opt to purchase from retailers that meet a higher standard that goes beyond generic safety practices. The IFS Food Store program is a third-party inspection program based on the rigorous requirements of ISO 17020.
So the next time you head to the deli counter or butcher, look for a retailer that participates in the IFS Food Store program to ensure your food purchases are of the highest quality.