What is SQF Certification?

What is SQF Certification?

If You Care about Your Food Products, Shouldn’t You Care About the Quality of How They’re Handled?

If you’ve just started in the food industry, you might ask, “What is an SQF Certification?” In this post, we’ll answer that question. We’ll also provide some details of what the standards are.

What is an SQF certification?

SQF stands for safe, quality food. It’s an internationally recognized system designed and administered by the SQF Institute.  The institute sets the standards for companies in the foodservice industry. They’re designed to keep food production and preparation safe.

What are SQF standards?

These are standards put in place to ensure that companies manage food safety risks appropriately. A company may apply for certification as a way to assure clients that they are practicing good hygiene and handling food correctly.

Basic food hygiene, like workers washing their hands before handling the food, make the world safer for all of us.

What are the SQF Levels?

There are three levels in total:

  • Level 1: This applies in cases where there are fewer risks, and it is the most basic level.
  • Level 2: Here, they set more rigorous standards. GFSI has created the benchmarks. Level 2 is a food safety plan that is HACCP certified.
  • Level 3: This is the highest standard and includes the same processes as Level 2. It’s a more comprehensive application of the rules.

The SQF Institute publishes the full list of codes here.

Why is SQF certification important?

There are several reasons why it’s so important. Let’s go over these.

It Helps You Manage Your Risk

Companies today are held accountable for any negligence in production. Being held accountable is especially important when it comes to food. This certification ensures that your company is effectively managing the risks associated with food.

It’s Essential if You Want to Expand Your Business

If you’ve been considering licensing your brand or expanding your market, it’s essential to be compliant. If you want to work with more prominent brands, certification is critical.

Your Customers Expect It

One out of four companies who are certified expects their suppliers to get certified as well. Can you afford to lose a quarter of your clients?

New Regulations will Make it Essential

Governments are changing their regulations concerning food safety. They’re becoming a lot stricter. Getting certified now will help you meet the new requirements.

What is the difference between GFSI and SQF?

SQF is the standard set by one institute. GFSI is a network made up of many manufacturers and retailers. This organization determines what the basic benchmarks are when it comes to food safety.

There are several food safety certifications out there. The GFSI helps to set the basic standards for all of those. They’ll also monitor the different standards bodies to ensure that they’re meeting the minimum food safety requirements.

The standards body certifies your company. The GFSI ensures that the standards are in line.

Final Notes

These food safety standards are imperative in dealing with the risks of handling food. Without them in place, we’d have no way of ensuring that suppliers were hygienically handling the food.

What is HACCP Compliance?

What is HACCP Compliance?

What We Take for Granted is A Matter of Critical Control

In this post, we’ll answer the question, “What is HACCP?” We’ll also look at why complying is essential, who it’s important to, and what the main points to consider are.

What is HACCP certified?

First, what is HACCP? HACCP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point is a set of international standards that define effective food safety control. The certification requires you to undergo an audit by an independent, authorized body.

The system centres on seven critical areas. These are:

  • The identification of potential hazards.
  • Determining control points that make sense.
  • Determining what the control parameters are. For example, how long you have to heat a particular food to destroy bacteria.
  • Creating a system that allows effective monitoring of the control points.
  • Working out what to do to counteract adverse effects and changes that should be made to minimize hazards.
  • Set up a verification procedure to confirm that your HACCP strategy is effective.
  • Put stringent record-keeping measures into place.

Why is HACCP important?

These audits help you to identify and neutralize hazards to food safety. It works on a system of control limits. Each limit links up to a critical point of the production process. By operating with a few different waypoints in this manner, it becomes easier to identify areas of risk.

For consumers, this process is crucial because it improves the safety of food.

For business, there are several reasons to undergo these audits. These include:

  • In some cases, it’s a condition of trade. Without certification, food businesses may not be allowed to operate here.
  • It may also be mandatory for businesses to have this system in place.
  • Many businesses comply irrespective of regulatory requirements. It makes sense to ensure that their product is as safe as possible.

Who uses the HACCP?

Businesses in the foodservice or food manufacturing industry will use this set of standards. The idea behind putting these principles in place is to deal with potential hazards in a timely manner, which can save the business a significant amount of money.

The alternative is end-product testing. End-product testing is effective at detecting issues. Unfortunately, at that stage, the only option is to discard the entire batch. If a contaminated product goes to the market, it raises significant liability issues.

Read more about why food testing is so vital for businesses here.

What are the most common critical control points?

A critical control point is any stage where a hazard can be eliminated, reduced to safe levels, or prevented. Examples could be during cooking, while food is cooling, or when you package it.

A hazard analysis usually consists of three parts:

  • Chemical risks: Is there a risk posed by any of the additives that you use in the products? What if two different chemicals used to preserve food neutralize each other? What if additives combine to create dangerous chemical compounds?
  • Physical risks: Are there elements of the process that could pose a physical danger to consumers. For example, could chicken bones pose a choking hazard?
  • Biological risks: What are the chances of bacteria growing while the food is cooling, for example.

Final Notes

HACCP compliance is not just important for consumers. It can also help businesses to improve their safety protocols. Another answer to the question, “What is HACCP?” could be that it’s a vital business tool.