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Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification

Managing food safety with SQF

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Demonstrate food safety commitments to your stakeholders with SQF certification

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 9th 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

Our SQF Services

Our auditors are highly knowledgeable in assessing against the globally recognised food safety standard, SQF. We are here to partner in every aspect of your SQF certification journey wherever it is you operate. 


Expand your knowledge of SQF with our range of courses that have been designed for varying levels of experience and learning styles.

Gap analysis

An optional service where one of our expert auditors helps you identify any weak areas or non-conformities prior to your formal SQF audit. 

Accredited certification

An independent two-phase approach that provides a clear statement of your capabilities. Accredited certification helps you build trust with stakeholders and win new business.

Why work with us?

Total assurance

We've led the way in shaping our industry and continue to expand our services and expertise by collaborating with clients, acquiring businesses, and forming new partnerships. We focus on the areas that matter most and which often present the highest risks for your organisation.

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Global capability

With highly qualified auditors worldwide, we can provide a local service with a globally consistent dedication to excellence. Our people are technical experts with in-depth knowledge of food safety.

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Flexible delivery

Our SQF training and certification services can be delivered on-site or remotely using safe and secure technology. If you opt for our remote delivery methods, you’ll receive the same high-quality service with access to global expertise.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Safe Quality Food (SQF)

SQF is an internationally recognised food safety management system and certification scheme. SQF provides a comprehensive framework for managing food quality and safety within the food supply chain, from production to distribution.

What are the benefits of SQF?

The benefits of SQF are:

SQF Gap Analysis and Pre-Assessment  

We can 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 Part 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.

How long does SQF certification last?

The certification is valid for a year from the date of issue. To maintain certification the organisation must pass an annual audit. LRQA is required to conduct an unannounced audit of your site once every three years. The unannounced audit occurs within a specified time frame window.

How much does SQF certification cost?

The cost of SQF certification varies depending on multiple factors such as the size of the organisation, the organisation structure, and the scope of the certification. Contact us to request a quote based on your specific needs. 

What is the typical SQF certification process?

The path your organisation takes to achieve SQF Food certification depends on
your business’s size, maturity, and existing approach to managing risk, amongst other
factors. But the standard process to becoming IFS certified includes three main steps.

Your organisation can request a voluntary SQF pre-audit as preparation for the initial SQF certification audit. When your organisation is ready, request the initial certification audit. The auditor will go on-site to review your food safety and quality systems, products and production processes in line with SQF requirements. The auditor will issue an action plan listing all the findings and your company will have to complete it detailing the implemented corrections, root cause analysis and corrective actions. The report and action plan released by the auditor is the subject of an independent technical review. Based on the result of the technical review, the certificate issuance is recommended or not.

Is a new version of SQF in development?

The latest version of SQF was published in May 2021. Currently, there is no new version of SQF in development. However, the standard is reviewed every three years and may require changes based on market conditions.

Are you already certified to SQF and would like to transfer?

If you hold a valid accredited certificate of approval with another provider and you are considering making the move, transferring your SQF Food Safety certification to LRQA is simple. We'll work with you to ensure your transfer is as smooth as possible.


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