The Safe Quality Food is an in-depth food safety program recognized by retailers globally. For customers to purchase food products from companies, the companies must undergo the SQF program.
Over the years, the SQF Code grew into a corporation that handles the food industry in terms of standards and safety. It now caters to all sectors of the food supply chain, from production, manufacturing, and packaging.
Although the process of SQF certification can be overwhelming, the food manufacturing company needs to go through the process to protect the brand of the company. Below is an overview of everything you need to know about the certification process.
Is Getting Certified Essential?
For a company to prove that they’ve indeed met all the safety controls and proper verification has taken place, it is important to get SQF certification. A strong SFQ strategy boosts the confidence of the brand by giving clients assurance.
As much as the process helps you identify whether you’ve met the required standards, it is more important since it also protects your customers from any harm.
Why You Should Work With a Company That Is SFQ Certified
When choosing a packaging company for your business, it is better to work with one that is SQF certified, since there are many benefits attached to them. Below are some benefits of choosing a SFQ certified company.
- Helps Foster Trust from Potential Clients
Clients are less likely to buy from companies that are not proven to meet the standards of food safety. Consumers are assured that they are buying food that is safe for consumption through the SFQ certification.
- Saves Resources
Adhere to the SFQ protocols as you package your products. Packaging your food products becomes easier when you decide to work with an SFQ certified company.
You save a lot of time since you won’t have to look for a company. You save a lot of money that would have been spent in getting the auditing process done for your company since most of these companies carry out these extra services for their clients.
- Consistent Cross-checking
Your products need to be consistently cross-checked for every SFQ process. You risk having to deal with inconsistent control if you get a different company other than the SFQ to carry out the auditing process for your plastic packaging.
- Full Traceability
An SFQ allows you to trace the entire process from the beginning to the end. They provide you with a detailed analysis of your SFQ after checking your inputs. This relieves you the anxiety of having to worry about whether your products meet the standard requirements.
Your products risk being contaminated if the auditing is done by a third party, thus making it unsafe for consumption. This results when the third party delivers the products back and forth.
- SFQ Protocols Helps protect Consumers from Harm
If the SFQ merits are met, the company gets to work effectively with no safety issues. Meeting all the safety standards helps you concentrate on the company’s well being since you know your customer’s safety is ensured.
Requirements of Being an SQF Practitioner
For one to qualify to become an SQF practitioner, there are certain requirements they should meet even though nowadays practitioners are no longer certified.
An SQF practitioner ensures the SFQ routine is well maintained and also manages the system in terms of implementation and development.
The Practitioner t Must;
- Take a course on HACCP
- Be well trained on the SFQ requirements
- Be employed by the company and identified as a practitioner by the management
The Process Involved in Getting Certified
The SQF certification process is crucial since it involves the health sector. The process includes ensuring all the safety measures are met within the facility.
Below is a clear description of some steps you need to follow to get SQF certification.
STEP 1: Registering the Site
Your facility should be registered for it to be reviewed for certification. The registration is carried out on the SQF database for assessment. There are costs incurred as you will be required to pay the registration fee and renew the process annually.
Before you begin the auditing process of the certification, you must register the site.
STEP 2; Appoint an SQF Practitioner.
Consider getting an SQF practitioner that will work full time. The practitioner should meet all the requirements of an SQF practitioner for them to qualify for the task.
To make the SFQ department effective, you can have over one SFQ practitioner for the implementation process to run smoothly.
STEP 3: Identify the Area of Certification
The next step involves identifying the areas in which your auditing process will be carried out for certification. The areas include products, categories of the food sector, and processes that will be incorporated into your system.
To determine where your product fits, a review of the different categories is carried out.
STEP 4 and 5; Documenting and Implementing Your SQF System
This step requires a lot of time and resources to carry out the SQF requirements for you to generate your system through documentation and implementation.
You must ensure you meet all the protocols and specifications to meet the essentials of the SQF code.
STEP 6; Pre-evaluation audit
This step is optional, although it helps the facility identify whether it is on the right track before the audit certification is completed. The process also helps you identify if your implementation process has any gaps.
STEP 7; Choose a Certification Body.
These bodies meet international standards and are licensed to carry out certification processes and supply certificates. Once you choose a CB your certification process is scheduled.
Factors That Determine the Speed of Your Certification Process
- The sector of the audit
- Certifications that are in existence
- How complex the process to be assessed is
- Proper documentation and implementation
- Communication among the personnel on-site
It is evident that SQF certification is important for a company since it not only enhances the brand of the company but also ensures consumers are protected from harm.