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Document Control Requirements in Food Safety Management Systems

We are going to answer common questions about Document Control. Our free video explains How to Set Up Your Document Control Process.

Document Control Video

Our free video explains How to Set Up Your Document Control Process.

What documents do we need?

Food Safety Manual

A summary of how your company is going to meet the requirements of the food safety standard (such as SQF FSSC 22000...). It refers to your procedures. A top-level manual like this is optional, but is a useful document.


Use procedures to explain how your company will meet a specific requirement of the standard. For example, a Document Control Procedure will explain how you control the documents and records.

GMP Procedures or Tables

These documents will define the processes you use to meet the requirements for the Good Manufacturing Practices (SQF), or Prerequisite Programs (FSSC 22000).


Records are data and information that show results or providing evidence of activities performed. The records show that you are complying with your procedures, work instructions and other food safety management system processes and documentation.

Why are they important?

The documents:

  • explain your food safety processes to those in your company so everyone is working from the same information.
  • facilitate communication and consistency within the organization
  • record any changes to the processes. Everyone works from the most recent version.
  • show the auditor how your system is meeting the requirements, so they can provide your certification.

How do we do it?

As you implement the food safety management system, you will write the documents. In many cases, a team will work together to document the process. We have information to help you learn more about how.

Online Templates & Tutorials

Who should do it?

Creating the Documents

Management can assign responsibility for documenting the processes. One effective method is to use a team of those that work with the process to document it.

Approving the Documents

Your facility will define who is responsible for approving documents. It must be someone knowledgeable about the process and the food safety management system.

Controlling the Documents

Assign responsibility for document control. You may want to assign a Document Control Coordinator to:

  • maintain the master list,
  • revise and update documents in the document control system
  • maintain the distribution of controlled documents and
  • maintain the master list

Where do we keep them? What is document control?

Documents are controlled to make sure all documents are approved, maintained, stored and available to those who need to use them.

Each company will determine the method they will use to control the documents.

Many companies use software to help them control documents as well as other aspects of their food safety system.

CIS Continuous Improvement Software is one such company. They offer a web-based document control and quality management system.

Get the best of both worlds: world class training with Templates from 22000-tools.com and best-of-breed quality management software with CIS!

This video tutorial is a sample taken from our SQF Templates and Tutorials Training Package which includes 18 tutorial videos, templates for a manual, procedures and forms, an implementation master task list and other project management tools. It explains the creation of the Document Control Process and procedure.

Compare SQF Training Packages

Training is available in cost-saving bundles, or individually

Individual Courses

Order individually

Complete Package

Training for your Practitioner
90 Days Access

  • Introduction to SQF
  • SQF Food Safety Fundamentals
  • Gap Analysis Tutorial & Checklists
  • Templates & Tutorials
  • Internal Auditor Training

Premium Package

Training for Practitioner and your Food Safety Team!
1 year Access

  • Train your Practitioner
  • Train 5 Food Safety Team Members
  • Train 2 Internal Auditors
  • Gap Analysis Tutorial & Checklists
  • Templates & Tutorials

Corporate Package

Training for 3 Practitioners,  your Food Safety Team and Employees!
2 Years Access

  • Train 3 Practitioners
  • Train 10 Food Safety Team Members
  • Train 5 Internal Auditors
  • Gap Analysis Tutorial & Checklists
  • Templates & Tutorials
  • Train 20 Employees on SQF Basics