Preventing Product Fraud with the IFS Product Integrity Assessment (PIA)

Constanze Illner Food Safety & Hygiene

In recent years, we have seen a growing awareness of the risk of product fraud. Particularly in the consumer goods industry, it is of paramount importance to review products and raw materials along the supply chain. The Product Integrity Assessment, launched by IFS, is a tool to help companies protect the integrity and authenticity of their products.

Suppliers of white label products are increasingly being subjected to product authenticity and integrity checks by their retail customers. The IFS PIA has been designed in an effort to standardize the range of formats currently used for the assessment process. The assessment  can be applied to any product group of any given producer.  The assessment does not only relate to the production process in the production plant, but also to the supply chain. It covers both the way in which companies manage risks related to raw materials as well as the relevant administrative processes.

Unlike the IFS standards, IFS PIA is a benchmark assessment – it is not a certification standard!

The Approach

The scope of a PIA assessment is always the same: the management of product integrity at a specific site. It includes all processes and data related to the integrity of the products that are produced at the site, even when certain processes are outsourced or executed at other sites of the company. The assessment method consists of an off-site and an on-site stage. During the off-site assessment, trained auditors identify specific fraud and integrity risks. They will also obtain feedback from the relevant retailer, which will inform their on-site assessment. As such, every single aspect will be adjusted to the specific context of the site and product and is truly customer-specific.

Path To Evaluation

         Steps for registration

  1. Read the IFS PIA Program and Guideline
  2. Implement requirements
  3. Self Assessment (recommended to identify gaps)
  4. Register for the assessment (E-Mail address
  5. Sign the contract issued by IFS
  6. Complete the Questionnaire

    Next steps

  7. Choose a certification body with an IFS PIA trained Assessor, like DQS
  8. Retail partners provide input
  9. Certification Body will schedule the on-site appointment with you
  10. IFS and Assessor will prepare the assessment
  11. Execution of the Assessment

    After the on-site assessment

  12. Assessor prepares a preliminary report
  13. Creation of an action plan by the assessed company
  14. Assessor reviews action plan and adds his/her conclusion
  15. Assessor sends final report to IFS
  16. IFS sends the IFS PIA report to the site and to the participating retailers
  17. IFS adds Confirmation Letter to the IFS database

The frequency of the PIA assessment depends on the product, sector and level of vulnerability. For example, because the meat industry is particularly exposed to the risk of fraud, it is being assessed more frequently than other sectors. Assessment cycles can range from 6 months to three years.  

DQS – Your Partner for IFS PIA Assessments

With experienced auditors across the globe, DQS is your partner for the IFS PIA assessment. Contact us if you have further questions and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.


Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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