Thorough and systematic inspection
Quality assurance in the QS scheme for food you can trust is based on three interacting inspection levels: the first inspection level is in-plant self-assessment. At this level, the companies themselves ensure that they reliably monitor and conscientiously document all the stipulated requirements. QS supports them in this endeavour with clearly defined requirements and practice-oriented guidelines and checklists. You can download all the relevant documents from our website.
Inspection by independent experts
The second level of the QS scheme has two central elements: the independent inspection (audit) of businesses by qualified auditors and the participation of the businesses in the various monitoring programmes.
During the independent inspection, the auditors inspect both the production and marketing processes on site as well as the documentation of these processes. This allows identification and rectification of nonconformities with the requirements and systematic defects.
In addition, the companies and businesses participating in the QS scheme take part in various monitoring programmes. Systematic recording and evaluation of data allows detection and assessment of potential risks to food safety at an early stage.
Keeping an eye on the entire QS scheme
The third level is inspecting the inspectors. As part of the scheme integrity system (SIKS), QS ensures that quality assurance from farm to shop functions flawlessly. This process also involves monitoring of the work of the certification bodies, the auditors and the laboratories.
Risk-oriented with uniform assessment criteria
Inspections in the QS scheme are carried out on a risk-oriented basis. This means that the period between two inspections depends on how a business performs in the audit. Businesses where nonconformities and defects are established are inspected more frequently. Businesses that perform extremely well in the audit receive visits from the auditor less frequently.
During their inspections, the auditors gain an overall impression of the business and assess a wide range of individual criteria using a checklist. For this purpose, they undergo regular training with the aim of creating uniform assessment criteria that are valid nationwide for the entire QS scheme. Assessment of the individual criteria forms the basis for calculating whether and how a business has passed its audit.
Criteria that are of particular relevance to food safety, animal welfare or the trustworthiness of the QS scheme are defined as K.O. criteria. Businesses that do not comply with one of these criteria do not pass their audit and cannot therefore be awarded eligibility to deliver for the QS scheme.