The implementation date for the latest version of the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF) code, SQF edition 8, was January 2, 2018. Its safety portions are very similar to FSMA regulations, making it an ideal code for U.S.-based food and beverage manufacturers to become certified in. Here, we explore some of the most significant ways in which the code has been updated.
Level 3: A Separate Quality Code
The new structure for edition 8 is among the code’s most significant changes. There is now a separate, optional quality audit, which is used for a distinct SQF Quality certification. Formerly, the quality element was encompassed by level 3 of the code. Now, as a separate audit, the results of the quality component will not impact food safety audit results, and facilities will not have to wait for recertification audits to pursue the quality code.
Section 2.4.4 and 2.7.2 of the code require certified facilities to complete a Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment, and thereafter, to develop a Food Fraud Mitigation Plan. This new development supports FSMA’s final preventive controls rule for human and animal foods, under which companies must employ mitigation strategies to protect food against intentional adulteration.
Some supply chain requirements have been changed under version 8, with approved supplier program now needing to be based on suppliers’ prior performance and risk. Supplier audits should also be based on risk assessment.
Added Food Safety Code for Retail
SQF’s five HACCP-based Food Safety Codes are industry-specific. In addition to the preexisting codes for manufacturing, distribution, food packaging, and primary production, there is now a retail-specific code.
While allergen management was previously considered a best practice, development of an allergen management program is now mandatory for all food manufacturing sites under the eighth edition. Sites must implement effective controls for the accuracy of finished product labels.
While these are some of the most significant updates to the latest SQF edition, full comparisons of the current versions of the code to 7.2 and earlier versions can be conducted by viewing the documents provided on the SQF website.
About SafetyChain Software
SafetyChain is a Quality Management System (QMS) that helps food and beverage companies improve productivity, profitability, and compliance with a flexible, user-friendly software platform that captures, manages, and analyzes real-time operations data. Learn more at https://safetychain.com.