The SQF institute (SQFI) is currently gathering stakeholder feedback and public input on proposed updates to the Safe Quality Food (SQF) code.1 SQFI anticipates that the SQF code Edition 8 will be released prior to the SQF annual conference taking place in Orlando, FL on October 25-27, 16. The implementation of the revised scheme would take effect 6 months later, on April 2017. The most notable change to the standard will be the inclusion of food fraud requirements to comply with the upcoming revision of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements – Guidance Document.2, 3 Other proposed changes to Part A, Module 2 and Industry Codes are listed below:
Part A of the SQF code will better define the suspension protocol so that it may be auditable. SQFI is also planning to clarify the intent and scope of the surveillance audit. Other updates include management accountability for the scheduling of unannounced audits as well as a process to address changes to the audit scope mid-certification cycle. Furthermore, SQFI will now require documented root cause analyses for corrective actions. Corporate audit requirements and the scoring and re-evaluation of Opportunities for Improvement (OIP) are additional items slated for revision in the next SQF code edition.
Level 3 elements (Quality plan) will be offered as a stand-alone certification which will no longer affect a supplier’s (Level 2) food safety certification status. SQF code Level 3 will be updated to make it more robust so that it presents significant ROI to the supplier.
The following elements will be assessed and modified or their intent clarified:
- Approved supplier program
- Allergen management as it relates to allergen labeling
- New environmental program requirements subject to a risk assessment
- FSMA’s HARPC versus Codex HACCP requirements
- Food defense program to include vulnerability assessments
- HACCP and internal audit training for practitioners and employees to demonstrate knowledge of the code and food safety management principles.
SQFI has announced that working groups are currently assessing industry codes. This review includes assessing module 2 elements to determine fit and feasibility. Industry codes subject to review are the following:
- Animal feed/Pet food
- Farming and pre-processing of plant products
- Transport and distribution
- Production of food packaging
- Brokers and agents
- Food retailing and wholesale
November 1, 2016 Update: SQF Edition 8 is now slated for release in early 2017. Certified organizations will have 6 months to become compliant with the new requirements.
- April SQF Professional Update webinar
- GFSI to require food fraud mitigation requirements
- GFSI Benchmarking Requirements – Guidance Document