What is SQF certification?
The Safe Quality Certification is a globally recognized food safety management system, that is a part of the GFSI recognized programs. The SQF scheme is developed and maintained by the SQF Institute. Read more about what is SQF program on the SQF website.
– Why do you need SQF certificate?
-Who needs SQF certificate?
– How do you get SQF Certificate?
– Is it yours forever to keep?
– When will you get your SQF certificate?
– Where can you check the validity of an SQF certificate?
Learn the 5W about SQF certificate? -the who, when, why, what, where, how to get an SQF certificate?
Bonus -what does it mean to have an SQF certificate?
Why do you need SQF Certification?
There are many reasons why you will need an SQF certification:
- SQF is one of the GFSI recognized food safety management system.
- SQF is easy and flexible to be implemented.
- SQF certification is widely recognized in North America
- Proving to your customers that you have a working food safety management system
- Build and optimize your food safety management system
Who needs SQF Certification?
You may need SQF certification if you are a
- Food manufacturers
- Primary producers
- Pet food manufacturers
- Animal feed manufacturers
- Animal product manufacturers
- Dietary supplements manufacturers
- Food Storage and Distribution centre
- Food packaging manufacturers
SQFI website has a specific code for each producer, manufacturers or distributor. Click here to download SQF Edition 9 code
How do you get an SQF Certification?
To gain an SQF certification, you must complete the following activities:
- Apply for SQF certification through a certification body.
- Develop and implement SQF programs based on the most updated SQF Certification Edition 9.0 code.
- Nominate an SQF Practitioner and a backup SQF Personnel
- Schedule an initial SQF audit.
- Get an SQF audit
- Pass SQF audit with at least 70% score.
- Complete and submit corrective actions for any major or minor non-conformances that are raised during the SQF audit.
- Wait for certification body decision on the certifications.
Is the SQF Certification yours to keep forever?
Obtaining an SQF certification is a milestone but it is not yours to keep forever. There are many ways that SQF certification can get withdrawn or suspended including:
- Not reporting to certification body and SQFI when there is a regulatory activity or recall
- Obtaining a score of less than 70% during a recertification audit
Further, SQF recertification requires evidence that indicates that the SQF requirements are being followed and practiced consistently. These include:
- Evidence on monitoring, verification and validation activities
- SQF procedures and requirements are documented and practiced.
- Internal audit and relevant site inspections are performed
- Food Safety plans are followed etc.
When will you get your SQF certificate after your audit?
This is a commonly asked question, when would I get my SQF certificate after my audit? I know I pass my audit but now, when is my SQF certificate going to arrive on my inbox?
The answer is the faster you work on the corrective actions for the non-conformances raised during your audit, the faster it is you are going to get the certificate issues. The SQF certificates are issued once all non-conformances are closed-that is once the SQF technical reviewer completes the review and satisfy with the corrective actions plus final review by the certification body.
From our experience, this process typically takes (amount of time to close the deviation + 7 days).
Want to get your audit certificate faster, work on correcting the non-conformances.
Where can you check the validity of an SQF certificate?
Do you know you can check the validity of your or your supplier’s SQF status online at this link:
You can even get the SQF certification rating information and site information that has suspended or withdrawn certificates.
Bonus: What does it mean to have an SQF Certificate?
SQF certificate is typically issued based on food categories and is site-specific. Obtaining an SQF certificate means that the site has gone through an SQF audit process, whereby the audit evaluated the SQF system in the facility.
As with any audit, it is a peek of the food safety management system at the specific time frame. It doesn’t warrant a comparison between one food facility with another. Thus, it is important for any SQF site to understand that SQF programs must be maintained to ensure that the food safety management systems are properly implemented and food safety risks are properly mitigated.
Just because you pass an SQF certification or recertification, doesn’t mean that you can start to let the program run by itself and hope that it is working. Resources must be in place to ensure that SQF programs are properly implemented.
How Can SFPM Consulting help with SQF certification?
There are many ways we can help you get started with your SQF certification:
- The basic: Get started with SQF Template. Why invent the wheel when you can get our expert-written and easy-to-follow SQF Template
- The Basic +: SQF program development (done within 30 days) so you can focus on implementation
- The Premium: All-inclusive SQF development plus guided SQF program implementation
Worry about missing out on important steps or processes for your SQF certification, we are here to help you. That’s why we offer a premium package for selected SQF clients only, inquire about our SQF services today!