SQF (Safe Quality Food) PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 August 2010 02:03


The SQF (Safe Quality Food) Program is a leading, global food safety and quality certification program and management system, designed to meet the needs of buyers and suppliers worldwide. The Program provides independent certification that a supplier’s food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations. This enables suppliers to 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.

SQF is designed as a food safety program, but it also covers product quality, a feature that is unique to a certification program of this type. Assuring consistent quality and meeting buyer specifications are important aspects of the buyer-supplier relationship.

SQF Codes 1000 and 2000

The SQF Program provides two standards based on the type of food supplier:

The SQF 1000 Code for primary producers and the SQF 2000 Code for the manufacturing and distribution sectors. Both are based on the HACCP method and principles.

The SQF Codes are divided into three certification levels. These levels provide suppliers with an opportunity for continuous improvement and make SQF certification obtainable for even the smallest companies. Suppliers are issued with an SQF certificate indicating the level of certification achieved.

Levels of Certification

Level 1: Food Safety Fundamentals
Suppliers must establish prerequisite programs incorporating fundamental food safety controls essential to providing a sound foundation for the production and manufacture of safe food. This level is appropriate for low risk products.

Level 2: Certified HACCP Food Safety Plans
In addition to meeting Level 1 requirements, suppliers must complete and document a food safety risk assessment of the product and process using the HACCP method, and an action plan to eliminate, prevent or reduce food safety hazards. This is the minimum level for suppliers of high risk products.

Level 3: Comprehensive Quality Management Systems Development
Suppliers are required to complete and document a food quality assessment of the product and its associated process to identify the controls needed to ensure a consistent level of quality. Level 1 and Level 2 certification are prerequisites to gaining a Level 3 SQF certificate. After achieving Level 3, an SQF-certified supplier is authorized to use the SQF 1000 or 2000 certification trademark (according to the type of certification achieved) to indicate their status as an SQF quality certified supplier.

At all levels, suppliers are required to meet buyer product specifications and the regulatory requirements of the country in which they operate and the countries to which they export products.