AIB Certification refers to a process in which an AIB inspector inspects, and typically audits, a facility where food is processed or handled, or where products used to manufacture food are processed or handled. If a facility passes an audit, they are given a certificate that verifies their participation in the audit.
Contrary to popular belief, AIB does not certify companies; they merely issue participation certificates after a successful audit. These certificates list the company name, and the location of the facility. The date of the inspection is also listed on the certificate, if the company receives a ‘Superior’ or ‘Excellent’ rating. Audit certificates do not expire, but they can be updated, and many businesses choose to have yearly audits. AIB audits, are not mandatory, however, certain companies require all their suppliers be AIB certificated. Additionally, some businesses request AIB audits to demonstrate that they produce safe products, and to gain future clients.
AIB uses very stringent inspection standards based on their consolidation standards that have been in place since 1956. They use these standards internationally, and they are based on a combination of FDA regulations, ISO standards, Codex standards, as well as guidelines established by other international regulatory groups. ABI inspects to ensure that facilities meet these standards, and provides information to educate companies about what the standards are, as well as how they can go about implementing them. Inspections involve a review of the facility to see that it meets consolidation standards, while audits involve a comparison between past and current inspections to evaluate how a company is progressing over time, and to see if it is meeting its goals. As part of the inspection, the ABI rates companies on a scale between one and one thousand, across five different categories. Each category is worth 200 points, and facilities must score at least 700 to pass an inspection. In order to obtain a superior or higher rating, a facility must be in the top 25 percent of all facilities audited in a particular sector.