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Understanding Safe Quality

Understanding Safe Quality Food 2000 Code Requirements

Another Quality System that deserves a closer look is the Safe Quality Food 2000 Code. In Walmart through their support behind SQF requiring their supply chain to be certified to a GFSI standard including SQF on Feb. 2008.

The SQF 2000 Code is designed for use in all sectors of the food industry as a HACCP-based quality management system to reduce the incidence of unsafe food reaching the marketplace. It is a food safety program that also covers product quality. It offers benefits to suppliers and buyers at all links in the food supply chain by addressing the buyers food safety and quality requirements, and provides a solution for the suppliers.

First launched in 1994, The Food Marketing Institute acquired the rights to the SQF program in 2003 and established the SQF Institute (SQFI) division to manage the program. Now in its sixth edition, SQF 2000 Code is recognized by GFSI as meeting its benchmark requirements. It is the only GFSI-recognized certification system that links primary production certification to food manufacturing, distribution, and agent/broker management certification.

The program provides independent certification that a suppliers food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations. This enables suppliers to help assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared, and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain.

Levels of certification

The SQF 2000 Code is divided into three certification levels: Level 1 covers food safety fundamentals; at Level 2, certified HACCP food safety plans are recognized by GFSI; and at Level 3, comprehensive food safety and quality management system actions exceed the GFSI benchmark requirements.

The SQF program has many unique features that help ensure trust and consistency in the auditing process. Certification bodies that are licensed by the SQFI to perform SQF audits are subject to regular assessments of their certification and audit activities by internationally recognized accreditation bodies licensed by SQFI. Auditors are only permitted to perform audits in the food industry sectors for which they have been registered, and in which they have extensive expertise and experience.

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