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SQF - Safe, Quality Food

The SQF (Safe Quality Food) Program is a global food safety and quality certification program and management system designed to meet the needs of buyers and suppliers worldwide. It provides independent certification that a supplier's food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations. This enables suppliers to assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain.

The SQF Program provides two standards based on the type of food supplier:

  • The SQF 1000 Code for primary producers and growers 
  • SQF 2000 Code for the manufacturing, processing and distribution sectors.

Both are based on the HACCP method and principles. SQF is designed primarily as a food safety program, but it is the only standard, recognized by GFSI, that incorporates a Quality certification component at Level Three. This allows suppliers to provide assurances that the food they produce, handle, prepare, process and distribute is of the highest quality, in addition to adhering to the strictest food safety standards.

The SQF Program was launched in 1994 in Australia and since 2004 has been administered by the SQF Institute (SQFI), a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). SQF certifications have been issued to thousands of companies operating in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North and South America.

Globally Accepted and Locally Based

SQF is a globally trusted and accepted food safety and quality program. However, it is the only such program, recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

Complimentary Code and Practical Guidance

The SQF Program offers wide-ranging documentary support to its stakeholders, most of which is provided on a complimentary basis or at minimal cost. The SQF Codes are available for download free of charge on the SQF website. Complimentary practical guidance is provided to assist suppliers in the development, implementation and maintenance of their SQF systems.

In addition to a general guidance document for both the SQF 1000 and SQF 2000 codes, the Program provides additional guidance documents on the application of the standards within specific food sector categories, such as egg processing and fresh produce pack house operations. These guidance documents are developed with the assistance of Technical Advisory Council (TAC) Subcommittees drawn from a field of external technical experts in the relevant food sectors, thus maintaining the integrity and independence of the SQF Program.

Why choose SQF?

  • The SQF 2000 Code and Guidance documents for general food processing and specific food industry sectors.
  • Three levels of certification.
  • A third-party audit and annual certification that verifies the supplier is adhering to SQF's rigorous requirements.
  • Optional modules for responsible environmental, social and food defense practices.
  • SQF is a certification program endorsed by the Global Food Safe Initiative (GFSI).
  • The program involves a rigorous registration process for auditors.
  • Suppliers seeking SQF certification must appoint an SQF Practitioner to maintain and manage their system.
  • The Program provides additional tools such as guidance documents, self-assessments, audit checklists and voluntary modules to promote continual improvement of a supplier's SQF system

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8 Steps to SQF

Find out how to apply for the SQF - Safe Quality Food program



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