Safe Quality Food (SQF) is a food safety standard that is benchmarked (level 2 and 3) by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). It is recognized internationally as a reputable certification standard. SQF is owned and administered by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
Achieving SQF certification provides assurance that your company is compliant with food safety regulations, that you are committed to continuous food safety improvements, and that your facility operates according to both HACCP and Good Manufacturing Practices. Becoming SQF certified provides a competitive advantage and will help your business export to the United States, Canada or other markets.
Even if you are already GMP or HACCP certified, you must develop and implement a robust food safety management system in order to become SQF certified. Good knowledge of the SQF code is key to writing a lean food safety manual that can be efficiently implemented. Certification is a multi-step process that starts with registering your facility with SQFI. Once your facility is registered, a desk and facility audit will be scheduled. During these audits, a SQF registered auditor will assess and determine whether the written program meets the standard requirements. This is achieved by reviewing process documents and records. Certification will be granted when all non-conformities (“gaps”) have been addressed and corrective action plans submitted for review and subsequently closed off. Depending on your existing certifications (GMP, HACCP), the adequacy of your current written program, the complexity of the product line and process, a SQF certification may take from 4 to 6 months or from one or two years.
Sirocco Food and Wine consulting can help your organization achieve SQF certification by: