The Safe Quality Food (SQF) standard is an internationally recognized, independent food safety standard which is administered by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). SQF certification tells the world that your Quality Management System (QMS) conforms to food safety regulations, that your organization is committed to continuous improvement of your QMS, and that your organization is a practitioner of good agricultural practices (GAPs) and good manufacturing principals (GMPs) for food.
SQF is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked standard, which means that it is recognized world-wide as a reputable food safety certification scheme. Changes released in the GFSI 6th edition guidance document caused SQFI to review and update its existing food safety standards, SQF 1000 and SQF 2000. The result was a new standard, SQF Edition 7, which combines SQF 1000’s focus on primary food producers and SQF 2000’s focus on food manufacturers, distributors and brokers, to create one standard.
SQF 7 – Farm to Fork
SQF Edition 7 is broken down into two main components. This allows for more flexibility in the auditing and certification process. While still addressing the specific requirements of each sector, organizations are not forced to comply with regulations that may not be applicable to the sectors they do business in.
First is a common system element module that is required of all organizations seeking SQF certification. There are three levels of the system elements to choose from, allowing organizations greater flexibility on how they choose to implement a food safety QMS:
- Level 1: Fundamental food safety controls appropriate for low-risk products.
- Level 2: HACCP and ISO based food safety program recognized by GFSI.
- Level 3: A comprehensive masters of safe and quality management systems. Requirements at this level exceed GFSI standards guidance.
Next are numerous sector-specific modules. This provides organizations the opportunity to address specific GMP, GAP and HACCP requirements of their business sector, and also allows even small companies to attain SQF certification.