SQF is a Food Safety Management Certification Scheme, created and managed by SQF Institute.
Its requirements provide a rigorous system to manage food safety risks and provide safe products for use by companies in the food industry.
It is a GFSI recognized food safety certification. This allows your customers to have confidence in your food safety program and know that you have a rigorous food safety system in place.
First and foremost, building an SQF System will provide your company with effective management of food safety hazards by creating an environment capable of producing safe product and a management system to continually manage, monitor, validate and improve the system.
Statistics show that approximately 1 out of 4 certified companies are asking their suppliers to achieve certification. Chances are that if you have not been asked yet, you will be asked in the near future. Starting on your certification can help you stay competitive and qualified to work with your current customers.
Large retailers and multinational manufacturers or processors are also demanding certification of their suppliers. Having SQF Certification means you are qualified to supply these organizations or their suppliers, opening up a large market for your products.
Countries across the globe are making changes to food safety regulations, including the United States and its Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). SQF prepares your organization to meet many or most of the FSMA requirements.
The SQF Institute has released the new version of the code, SQF Edition 8. Companies are expected to begin their transition to the new edition. However, certification audits that are conducted before January 2, 2018 will continue to be audited to Edition 7.2 of the Code. Audits conducted January 3, 2018 or later, will be audited to Edition 8.
SQF has updated the code with 4 goals in mind.
SQF Version 7.2 is the current version of the SQF code and will be used for certification audits through the end of 2017. After that, SQF 8 will be used for certification audits.
This has changed since Edition 7.2 (changes noted below)
You will choose the Food Safety Code that is specific to your industry and then follow the Module 2 requirements in that code along with the Module that applies to your industry sector. For example, if you process food, you would choose Manufacturing and use Module 11 along with the included Module 2. If you manufacture a packaging product that is used for food production such as cans, film etc., you would select Manufacture of Packaging Materials and use Module 13 along with the included Module 2. If you have any doubts at all about which to choose, we recommend confirming with your certification body that you have selected the correct Code for your business.
Module 2 will detail the food safety management system and covers the processes that allow the production of safe food. It contains requirements for integrated processes that work together to control and minimize food safety hazards. The other module you follow contains the GMP (Good Manufacturing Requirements) that are site specific. Those requirements ensure that your facility and environment is capable of making safe product.
The SQF Code for all of the segments can be downloaded for free from SQFI.
Getting ready for registration involves building your Food Safety Management System, documenting that system, and implementing it throughout your organization. A 2012 survey of certified companies showed an average of 8-12 months to prepare for certification. Based on information from our visitors and customers, the average time for implementation is approximately one year, however the time frame will vary depending on your organization's specific circumstances. Your timeframe maybe shorter or longer than average.