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SQF: Safe Quality Food Certification

Managing food safety with SQF

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  • SQF is managed by the Safety Quality Food Institute (SQFi), a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and is the largest GFSI-recognised food safety certification program in the United States and Canada. The SQF certification program is on its 8th Edition.
  • SQF certification is recognised around the world and food & beverage manufacturing, packaging and storage & distribution companies choose SQF because it helps demonstrate food safety assurance to retailers and service providers as verifiable proof that robust food safety control systems are in place to help protect consumers, brands and supply chains.
  • The SQF Edition 9 certification program promotes safe quality food from farm to fork and is comprised of codes including the following:
    • Primary plant production
    • Primary animal production
    • Aquaculture
    • Food manufacturing
    • Animal feed manufacturing
    • Quality 
    • Manufacture of food packaging

What’s new in SQF Edition 9?

Since May 24, 2021, all initial certification audits, recertification and unannounced re-certification audits must be delivered against the SQF Code Edition 9. Some of the main changes include:

  • Scoring changed from 10 points for a major nonconformity to 5 points
  • Includes the option for remote activities
  • The addition of a food safety culture requirement

Contact us to find out more about SQF Edition 9 requirements.

What are the benefits?

SQF Gap Analysis and Pre-Assessment

We provide an SQF gap analysis before your official SQF audit and certification, during which an LRQA food safety assessor will review how your system has addressed, or plans to address, the requirements of the SQF standard. It will give your organization the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have about your system, or the SQF assessment process, with us. The gap analysis does not result in certification, but instead helps identify any weaknesses before the actual SQF certification audit takes place.

SQF Audit and Certification

At LRQA, we specialise in helping to provide food safety assurance across the food supply chain. Our SQF audits and certification will help assure your organisation is delivering safety quality food no matter where you are in the food supply chain. Once your organisation has successfully completed an SQF audit and technical approval is given, you will be awarded SQF certification, providing credibility for your stakeholders through the globally recognised LRQA brand.

Customised Assurance and Second Party Assessments

In addition to being certified to a GFSI-recognised food safety standard, many customers may also require assessment against their own company-specific standard or criteria.

We can help to combine your SQF certification with a second party, company-specific or customised assurance program. In addition, if your organisation needs help to develop its own solution, we can work with you, delivering value by understanding your assurance needs, expectations and requirements. We’ll then work together to assure you have the right program in place to meet these assurance needs, identifying a suitable approach to assessment, criteria, methodology and reporting.

Beyond Food Safety

Don’t let your certification journey stop with food safety. We deliver certification, validation and verification assessment services to all of the world’s leading standards and schemes including quality, health and safety, environmental, sustainability, energy management, business continuity, cyber security and many more.

Why choose LRQA?

We are at the forefront of food safety standards development. We support the GFSI and as a market leader and highly recognised and trusted provider of food safety assurance, certification and training for decades, and we serve over 33,000 food and drink organisations around the world.

Knowledge and experience

Our SQF and GFSI food safety teams understand the complex nature of food safety requirements. We have proven experience supporting clients across the supply chain with GFSI, FSMA and customised assurance programs to help assure food safety and quality. Our assessors are required to meet some of the highest qualifications in the industry, and all have extensive experience working across the food and drink supply chain.

Licensed and accredited

LRQA is now accredited to SQF Edition 9 and was among the first licensed BRCGS and FSSC 22000 certification. We’re also independently accredited for FSSC 22000, BRCGS, ISO 22000 and HACCP.

Robust, risk-based approach

Our team of experts know the SQF requirements inside and out and are therefore best suited to assess your system with a robust risk-based approach to help protect your brand and reputation. We focus on the areas that matter most and which often present the highest risks for your organisation. We provide thorough assessments that help build confidence with your customers and key stakeholders.

Contact us for more information.


What we think

LRQA's experts regularly share their research and insights.

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