The SQF food safety certification program
The SQF food safety certification program is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognized scheme applicable to supply chain sectors from primary production through retail. The program is maintained and owned by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), a trade association of food retailers. Farming operations, food and packaging manufacturers, storage and distribution operations, and retailers are eligible for certification. Currently, approximately 7,000 sites in North America alone are SQF certified. Supply chain operations are certified against a set of food safety management system requirements, which are published in the SQF Code. The Code is now in its 8th edition with audits against the new standards beginning January 2, 2018. In edition 8, the Code was broken out into seven different standards. This includes five separate Food Safety Codes aimed at improving the applicability of food safety requirements for each supply chain sector. It also includes a Food Safety Fundamentals standard (formerly SQF Level 1) to align with GFSI’s Global Markets Program and Quality Code (formerly SQF Level 3) for businesses seeking certification of both their food safety and quality systems.