All about SQF Practitioner

The Requirements

SQF 9.0 Food Manufacturing code requires that a food facility have a primary SQF Practitioner and a backup SQF Practitioner. The requirements for SQF Practitioners are listed below:

  • 2.1.1.4 Senior site management shall designate a primary and substitute SQF practitioner for each site with responsibility and authority to:
    i. Oversee the development, implementation, review, and maintenance of the SQF System;
    ii. Take appropriate action to ensure the integrity of the SQF System; and
    iii. Communicate to relevant personnel all information essential to ensure the effective implementation and maintenance of the SQF System.
  • 2.1.1.5 The primary and substitute SQF practitioner shall:
    i. Be employed by the site;
    ii. Hold a position of responsibility related to the management of the site’s SQF System;
    iii. Have completed a HACCP training course;
    iv. Be competent to implement and maintain HACCP-based food safety plans; and
    v. Have an understanding of the SQF Food Safety Code: Food Manufacturing and the requirements to implement and maintain an SQF System relevant to the site’s scope of certification.
  • 2.1.2.2 The SQF practitioner(s) shall update senior site management on at least a monthly basis on matters impacting the implementation and maintenance of the SQF System. The updates and management responses shall be documented.

How do you become an SQF Practitioner?

You can become an SQF Practitioner by taking an Implementing SQF course or through understanding the current SQF code. An online exam is available to assess your understanding of the current SQF code.

In addition to the SQF understanding, you must also be trained with accredited HACCP training.

It is important that we have the right training program in place. The training requirements are there, to support the training needs of the SQF Practitioner.

In the next step, you may become an SQF Practitioner if you are working full time at a food facility and assigned the responsibility at the facility. You must also be competent in maintaining the HACCP and SQF requirements.

What are the differences between the main and backup SQF Practitioner?

The responsibilities of the main and backup SQF Practitioner are basically the same. You will fulfil the above responsibilities. To understand the differences in your responsibilities, you can reference the differences between a QA Manager and a HACCP Coordinator -the responsibilities towards food safety are the same. The differences lie between how the responsibilities are delegated -you may designate selected tasks to the main SQF Practitioner or backup person or take co-responsibilities. This may be very specific to the organization setup.

The backup SQF Practitioner must be ready and prepared towards taking over the main SQF Practitioner roles (in the absence).

The Rationale of having a Backup SQF Practitioner

  • It is unfair to have a single person shouldered the responsibilities of maintaining the SQF Practitioner
  • SQF Practitioner is also a human and needs time to be off. It is important that the role of SQF Practitioners are taken care of, during the vacation period
  • SQF Continuity -in the event an SQF Practitioner leaves the organization, there will be a competent SQF Practitioner to take over the responsibility

What if I only have one food safety personnel in my organization?

  • You can choose the next most suitable person to be designated as an SQF Practitioner. Bear in mind that the SQF Practitioner must be
    • A full-time employee
    • Have HACCP Training
    • Competent to maintain SQF program

How can SFPM Consulting help in bringing up my SQF Practitioner, up-to-speed?

We offer

  • Basic food safety management systems that are specific to SQF requirements
  • Monthly support program, to assist program implementation
  • Personnel coaching to be a qualified/competent SQF Practitioner

The next step:

  • Designate two SQF Practitioner (Main and backup)
  • Define the role of SQF Practitioner
  • Ensure that the SQF Practitioner is trained on SQF requirements and HACCP requirements. Please note that accreditated HACCP training is required, within the last 5 years.
  • Seek assistance for your SQF program implementation, if needed.
  • Check out our easy to use SQF program templates

Previously published at https://sfpmfoodconsulting.com/sqf-practitioner/