SQF Definition: SQF is a Food Safety Management Certification Scheme, created and managed by SQF Institute, used to control food safety risks. Once the food safety management system is implemented it is audited and certified by a third-party certification body.
The Food Safety Certification 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 your food safety management 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. 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). The newest version, Edition 8, prepares your organization to meet many or most of the FSMA requirements.
This version of the code, became effective January 1, 2018. Companies are expected to begin their transition to the new edition.
SQF has updated the code with 4 goals in mind.
Edition 7.2 is no longer the current version of the code and is no longer used for certification audits. SQF Edition 8 is the current version and is 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 requirements in that code. Module 2 is the backbone of the food safety system. This module describes the requirements that assure product safety.
In addition to Module 2, a company will also use an industry-specific module that sets out the requirements for the industry-specific GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices or Prerequisite Program) requirements. Read more about modules. If you have any doubts at all about which to choose, we recommend confirming with your certification body that you have selected, to find out which is the correct Code for your business.
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.
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