What Is The SQF Program & Why Is It So Important?

As a brand owner, you know how important safety and quality are for all your processes. If you’ve been in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) industry long enough, chances are you’ve heard the letters SQF when talking about food or manufacturing plant safety. Maybe you’ve heard that SQF is important, but not what makes this certification globally respected and recognized. 

What is the SQF Certification? 

The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a food safety and quality program for companies of all sizes, from large corporations to small, family-owned businesses. The certification is recognized by retailers, brand owners, and foodservice providers worldwide.

The program involves a set of rigorous food safety and quality codes that are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain. This means from the farm all the way to the retail stores. And the certification is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative.

Achieving SQF certification is a public statement of commitment to food safety. Because SQF is a set of strict “farm-to-fork” food safety quality codes and standards, achieving the certification lets food producers show their customers that their product meets the highest possible level of safety.  It helps demonstrate that food safety and quality controls have been effectively implemented and validated in that facility, as well as throughout the entire supply chain. 

Getting SQF Certified

Getting certified is a public declaration that the safety of your product is of the utmost importance. For any company, like a brand owner, farm, or packaging supplier, getting certified is a process created by the SQF Institute. This in-depth program helps companies by providing training, customer service, and instructions to walk them through the entire process. 

The process starts with the setting up of a comprehensive food safety management system. Through an in-depth audit, the team from the SQFI checks the work of that system by examining the company’s processes. Passing this audit results in a certificate and earns a facility the right to call themselves an “SQF-Certified Site.”

Here’s a glimpse of the SQF checklist that the plant, farm, or SQF facility would go through in order to be certified:

Step 1: The facility learns about the SQF code by attending an information day or online course, or even by training themselves with the free tools on the SQF website.

Step 2: An employee is designated the SQF Practitioner to be in charge of all processes.

Step 3: The type of certification is chosen: Fundamentals, Food Safety, or Food Safety and Quality.

Step 4: The Certification Body conducts Initial Certification audits.

To learn more about how companies achieve SQF status, go to www.sqfi.com/how-to-get-certified for the full process details.

Partnering with a Packaging Company That is SQF Certified

Photo of the ePac Chicago team after receiving their SQF Certification.

ePac is dedicated to food safety for the benefit of our customers. Both our Boston and Chicago plants were recently awarded the SQF certification, and our remaining plants are working to get certified in the near future. 

Let us partner with you to rapidly bring your product to market, and do it with safety and quality at the forefront.  Click here to contact us today, or give us a call at 844-623-8603.