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Questions about SQF Certification ASI Food Safety can direct your organization to take the necessary steps to obtain certification under the SQF Code Edition 7 audit scheme; any one of our marketing staff can answer your questions. SQF is recognized by retailers and food service providers around the world who require a rigorous, credible food safety management system. Gaining SQF Certification will allow your organization to be recognized as producing the safest product under rigorous SQF Audit standards.
What is SQF? SQF Code Edition 7.2 or commonly known as the SQF audit scheme, has been benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative (the Global Food Safety Initiative sets requirements for food safety schemes through a benchmarking process in order to improve cost efficiency throughout the food supply). There are several audit schemes within the Global Food Safety Initiative besides an SQF audit. Currently, ASI is licensed to conduct the Safe Quality Food, Pre-assessments and SQF Certification Audits. SQF audits are based on HACCP and require management commitment to food safety. Like the other standards that are part of GFSI, corrective action follow-up to every non-conformance is required. Transitioning from a GMP level through the SQF Certification Process will typically take 3 to 6 months. This timeline will allow your facility to accumulate the documentation necessary to gain SQF Certification.
SQF Certification Pre-Assessments
Pre-Assessments for an SQF audit are optional and will be included on the quote. Each facility going through the SQF Certification process has the option of having an SQF pre-assessment. An SQF auditor can conduct this pre-assessment to identify the deficiencies between your programs and the desired level of SQF certification. Only your organization can determine if a pre-assessment is beneficial during the SQF Certification process. The pre-assessment is not a formal part of the SQF Certification process. The SQF audit is conducted but no grade is given and the results are not reported to SQFI or anyone other than your facility. Even though the SQF pre-assessment is not part of the SQF Certification process, many companies choose this option prior to gaining SQF Certification the initial time; when changing from SQF Audit level 2 to SQF Audit level 3; or when changing the scope of the SQF Certification.
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As part of the overall goal to continuously improve the Compliance and Integrity Program, SQFI has enhanced the withdrawn certificate requirement. Effective January 1, 2017, SQFI will retroactively post all SQF suppliers that have had their certificate withdrawn 12 months from January 2016 due to reasons listed in the SQF Code, edition 7.2, part A, section 4.7.
Part A, section 7.2 states the following:
The certification body shall withdraw the certificate when the supplier:
i. Has been placed under suspension and fails to submit approved corrective action plans as defined by the certification body, or take approved corrective action as determined by the certification body within the time frames specified;
ii. Has falsified its records;
iii. Fails to maintain the integrity of the SQF certificate; or
iv. Has an administrator, receiver, receiver and manager, official manager or provisional liquidator appointed over its assets or where an order is made or a resolution passed for the closure of the supplier (except for the purposes of amalgamation or reconstruction) or the supplier ceases to carry on business or becomes bankrupt, applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors or makes any arrangement or composition with its creditors.
Each withdrawn certificate will be posted for a twelve-month period and include the site name, city, state, and country along with the month and year of the suspension. The list will be updated monthly.
In addition, SQFI has implemented a 12 month delay from when a withdrawn site can reapply for certification. This delay prohibits sites from reapplying for certification 12 months from the date the certificate was withdrawn by the SQFI Certification Body.
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