SQF Code – Safety Quality Food Program
The SQF Program is a leading food safety and quality certification system that is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The program was designed to meet the needs of suppliers and buyers, to ensure their compliance with food safety regulations in both domestic and global markets at all stages of the supply chain.
What is the program?
The SQF Program is a food safety and quality certification system including primary production, food processing and related industry, such as packaging and animal feed.
SQF is aligned with HACCP, Codex Alimentarius, ISO 9001 (Quality Management System standard) and NACMCF (National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria of Foods). The certification and audit procedures, including auditor qualifications, are governed by a set of rules which are overseen by established international accreditation standards.
There are three levels of certification. Each level is designed to indicate the stage of development of the producer’s food safety and quality management system. The design of the levels within the code, allows every supplier, from the smallest farmer to the largest manufacturer, to be eligible for SQF certification. SQF Code level 2 meets the criteria of the Global Food Safety Initiative by The Consumer Goods Forum, which was created by the merger of CIES, the pre-eminent food and consumer goods industry body, with the Global CEO Forum and the Global Commerce Initiative (GCI), two global retailer and manufacturer collaborative platform.
Level 1: Food safety fundamentals
Suppliers must establish pre-requisite programs incorporating fundamental food safety controls which are essential to providing a sound foundation for the production and manufacturing of safe food.
Level 2: Certified HACCP based food safety plans
In addition to Level 1 requirements, suppliers must complete and document a food safety risk assessment of the product and process using the HACCP method, as well as an action plan to eliminate, prevent or reduce food safety hazards.
Level 3: Comprehensive food safety and quality management system
In additional to Level 1 and Level 2 requirements, suppliers must complete and document a food quality assessment of the product and its associated process, to identify the controls needed to ensure a consistent level of quality.
Why is SQF certification good for my business?
It is a statement that the supplier’s food safety plans have been implemented in accordance to the HACCP method, and that the validation and verification of the food safety plan has been evaluated and determined effective to manage food safety.
Being compliant with SQF demonstrates the supplier’s commitment to:
- Produce safe, quality food.
- Comply with the requirements of the SQF code.
- Comply with applicable food legislation.
Currently, many food producers have to undergo many audits based on different standards, due to the fact that there is no universally recognized standard for food. Because SQF is accepted by a large number of retailers globally, participating in this certification program will help eliminate much of this redundancy. It is every company’s obligation to their customer to provide safe and quality food. In addition, a growing number of retailers and wholesalers are requiring their producers and suppliers to implement the SQF code.
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