What is SQF Certification, & Why is SQF Certification Important?
What is SQF certification?
Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certification is a globally recognized food safety and quality assurance program that is highly sought after by retailers, brand owners, and food service providers. Developed by the SQF Institute (SQFI), the SQF Program is a comprehensive set of food safety and quality standards that are specifically designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain.
SQF Food Safety Codes are developed for: Manufacturers of food, animal products, dietary supplements, pet food, animal feed, and food packaging. There are also SQF Food Safety Codes for Storage & Distribution, Aquaculture, Primary Plant Production, and Primary Animal Production.
With SQF certification, companies can demonstrate their commitment to providing safe, high-quality food products that meet the highest industry standards.
Why is SQF certification important?
There are several reasons why SQF certification is important. First, it helps to ensure that food products are safe for consumers. The SQF Program includes a number of food safety requirements, such as hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) planning that help to identify and control food safety hazards.
Second, SQF certification can help to improve a company's reputation. By demonstrating that they are committed to food safety, companies can gain the trust of consumers and customers. This can lead to increased sales and market share. Third, by implementing the SQF Program, companies can reduce the risk of costly food recalls and protect their bottom line.
According to Circle Beverage, one of ASI's loyal customers, SQF certification sets a high bar for defining what world-class manufacturing looks like.
"I attribute the SQF process to an annual physical exam with your doctor. The SQF inspector audits you at least once per year, oftentimes unannounced, and spends multiple days reviewing processes, training records, product documentation, and the physical state of the facility. They turn over just about every stone you can imagine.
For manufacturers - SQF is top priority because it is a full-scope assessment of how you are doing. I use this as a way to measure our progress, identify issues, and to sustain Circle Beverage on our continuous improvement journey. For brands - SQF should be a firm requirement for you when selecting a manufacturing partner."
-- Matt Whiteside, Co-Founder and CEO of Circle Beverage.
How to get SQF certification
- Learn about the SQF Code. A PDF with all of the codes can be viewed here.
- Register your company in the SQF database. Your annual registration fee will be based on the annual gross sales of your facility.
- Designate one of your employees as the SQF practitioner.
- Choose your level of certification. There are three SQF programs available.
- Choose a Certification Body. Obtain audit proposals from licensed SQF Certification Bodies. As a well-known Certification Body for SQF, ASI Food Safety performs audits all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico and can provide a quote ASAP here.
- Conduct an optional pre-assessment.
- Schedule an audit with your chosen CB.
- Undergo an audit. The certification body will conduct an audit of your company's food safety and quality program. The audit will verify that your company is meeting the SQF standards.
- Receive certification. If the audit is successful, you will be granted SQF certification.
Overall, SQF certification is a valuable asset for any food company. By demonstrating their commitment to food safety, companies can gain the trust of consumers, customers, and regulatory agencies. This can lead to increased sales, market share, and profitability.
If you are a food company that is looking to improve your food safety program, SQF certification is a great option. The SQF Program is comprehensive and rigorous, and it can help you to ensure that your food products are safe for consumers.