ARLINGTON, VA — April 23, 2008 — Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the German Retail Federation (HDE) and the French Wholesale and Retail Federation (FCD) today announced a partnership to develop harmonization between the European International Food Standards (IFS) and the United States-based Safe Quality Food (SQF) program to strengthen food safety and quality certification standards.

“This collaborative effort will go a long way toward restoring consumers’ trust in the food they buy no matter where in the world it was grown, raised or processed,” said FMI President and CEO Tim Hammonds. “It will streamline international audits, reduce costs for suppliers and broaden the reach of state-of-the-art food safety standards throughout our food supply.”

Stephan Tromp, Deputy Secretary General of the German Retail Federation and IFS Director said, “There will be cooperation in many areas, including common auditor training, selection of certification bodies, requirements for accreditation bodies and connection of the databases.”

The partnership provides an opportunity to address legislative and cultural differences that affect the auditing and certification processes on both sides of the Atlantic as well as in the Asia Pacific region.

“Through this cooperative effort, suppliers and retailers in the Americas, Asia, Europe and other markets will benefit by efficiencies in the system,” said Alexander Rogge, head of the European department of the French retail federation and IFS Director.

The IFS and SQF standards have been recognized as meeting the requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarking process and have been implemented by more than 16,000 suppliers around the world.

“U.S. regulatory agencies are looking at ways to use private sector third party certification to compliment their oversight of the safety of imported foods,” said Paul Ryan, executive director of the SQF Institute, “and this collaboration enhances our ability to expand the use of these certification programs.”

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The Safe Quality Food Institute, a division of the Food Marketing Institute, is a leading, global food safety and quality certification program and management system, designed to meet the needs of buyers and suppliers worldwide. The Safe Quality Food (SQF) program provides independent certification that a supplier’s food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations. This enables suppliers to assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain.

The International Food Standard (IFS) is developed for all type of retailers (all sizes of companies and shops, independent or not) and for wholesalers with similar activities (e.g. cash and carry). IFS is the food safety and quality standard of the German, French, Italian, Austrian, Swiss and Spanish retailers. The retailers have to ensure the safety of their “own branded” products they sell. IFS helps to comply with all legal food safety requirements and gives a common and transparent standard to the all concerned suppliers as well as a concrete and strong answer to the high safety expectations of customers.