Exam: Auditing SQF Quality Systems

Professionals seeking registration as SQF quality certification auditors must complete the Auditing SQF Quality Systems examination as one of the requirements for registration.

SQFI.com

Individuals will be allowed a total of three attempts to successfully complete the examination. The examination must be completed within 14 days of beginning the examination. A certificate of attainment can be printed after successful completion of the examination.

The passing score of the examination is 85%

Frequently asked questions

How long do I have to complete the exam?
Once purchased, an online exam will remain available indefinitely. Once started, the user has 14 days to complete the exam in full before the expiry date. Users who fail to complete the online exam in the time available will not be eligible for a refund.

Where can I download Edition 8?
Edition 8 can be found on the SQFI website at www.sqfi.com/documents. All previous versions of the SQF Code can also be found by following that link.

How much documentation is required to update our current SQF system to edition 8? For example, should my system review be against edition 7.2 or edition 8?
Any auditors auditing against edition 8 of the SQF Code will be required to audit against all requirements (new and existing) that are contained in edition 8. Sites should evaluate their systems to ensure they meet the requirements of edition 8. It is recommended that there be at a minimum of 90 days of documentation to support any new program or requirement however that is not a requirement. The actual number depends on the program, policy or procedure that is being implemented.

What is the difference between the modules and the Food Safety Codes?
Modules are the good industry practices that are specific to the industry sector. The modules contain the good agriculture practices, good manufacturing practices, good distribution practices, and good retail practices that the site shall meet in order to achieve SQF certification. To determine the appropriate the module the site shall refer to any of the SQF Codes, Edition 8, Part A, Section 1.2. The Food Safety Code is the site-specific reference that outlines the requirements that each site shall meet when implementing and maintaining the SQF Code requirements.

What is the best way to determine which food sector category and modules apply to my site?
The best way to determine which Food Sector Category bests fits your site, please reference the Food Sector Category list and description listed in any of the SQF Codes, Edition 8, Appendix 1. This list identifies the category and provides descriptions, product examples and relevant modules. It would be best to consult with your certification body to confirm the designation of the site’s food sector category.

If I pass the SQF exam, will that make me an SQF Practitioner?
No, there are various requirements to become an SQF Practitioner including the following:

  1. Be employed by the site as a company employee on a full-time basis;
  2. Hold a position of responsibility in relation to the management of the site’s SQF System;
  3. Have completed a HACCP training course;
  4. Be competent to implement and maintain HACCP based food safety plans; and
  5. Have an understanding of the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing and the requirements to implement and maintain an SQF System relevant to the site’s scope of certification.

Our Implementing SQF Systems course helps you pass the SQF exam which fulfills the “Have an understanding of the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing and the requirements to implement and maintain an SQF System relevant to the site’s scope of certification.” requirement.

You can also find this information in the SQF Food Safety Code, edition 8 in element 2.1.2.5.

Which exam or course should I buy if I want to be SQF certified?
An entire site seeks to achieve and maintain SQF certification, not just one person. However, part of a site becoming SQF certified is for the site to designate one of their employees as the SQF Practitioner. There are various requirements to become an SQF Practitioner including the following:

  1. Be employed by the site as a company employee on a full-time basis;
  2. Hold a position of responsibility in relation to the management of the site’s SQF System;
  3. Have completed a HACCP training course;
  4. Be competent to implement and maintain HACCP based food safety plans; and
  5. Have an understanding of the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing and the requirements to implement and maintain an SQF System relevant to the site’s scope of certification.

Our Implementing SQF Systems course helps you pass the SQF exam which fulfills the “Have an understanding of the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing and the requirements to implement and maintain an SQF System relevant to the site’s scope of certification.” requirement.

For more information on how your site can reach SQF certification, please visit: http://www.sqfi.com/wp-content/uploads/3.-8-Steps-to-Certitification-Flyer.pdf

Will current level 3 sites remain to be certified or do they have to be certified to the Quality Code?
Sites that are currently level 3 and require re-certification before 2nd January 2018, shall be audited against level 3 of the SQF Code, edition 7.2. However, any re-certification audits on or after 2nd January 2018 shall be to the SQF Quality Code in association with the relevant SQF Food Safety Code.

If a site does not pass the quality code, can they still be certified to the food safety code?
Certification to the SQF Quality Code is independent of certification to the SQF Food Safety Code, even if the audits are conducted concurrently. Certification to the SQF Food Safety Code is not dependent on passing the SQF Quality Code.

We currently are level 3 and operate under modules 2, 11 and 12. With edition 8 which Codes would I need to use in order to maintain the same level of certification?
This site will be required to meet the requirements of the SQF Food Safety Code for Food manufacturing, the SQF Food Safety Code for Storage and Distribution, and the SQF Quality Code for any audit on or after January 2nd, 2018. While this may seem daunting, the system elements are similar for Manufacturing and Storage and Distribution, and there will be a combined checklist for modules 11 and 12.

Is the Quality Code a separate audit?
A certification or re-certification audit of the SQF Quality Code can either be an extension of an audit to the appropriate SQF Food Safety Code, or a stand-alone audit conducted at any time during the currency of the site’s certification to the SQF Food Safety Code. The choice is up to the individual site.

Is the Quality Code mandatory to meet my retailer’s requirement for obtaining a certification through a GFSI Benchmarked Certification Program?
GFSI only benchmarks food safety. SQF, edition 7.2 is benchmarked at level 2, and it will only be the SQF Food Safety Codes that re submitted for benchmarking. It is up to each individual retailer to decide whether they require certification only to the SQF Food Safety Code or to the SQF Quality Code also.

What is the expected audit duration for the Quality Code audit?
SQFI expects a certification or re-certification audit to the SQF Quality Code, combined with a certification audit to the SQF Food Safety Code to add a minimum of half a day, while a stand- alone quality certification audit will be a minimum of one day.

Will a separate certificate be issued for the Quality Code?
Yes, certification to the SQF Quality Code will result in a separate SQF Quality Code certificate.

Will ISO 9001:2015 be considered an equivalent to the SQF Quality Code?
If a site is already certified to ISO 9001, they may not need to also be certified to the SQF Quality Code. The two are not equivalent, but it is up to the site to decide whether both certifications are required.

Will the Quality Code be included in the unannounced audit?
A stand-alone Quality audit will not be unannounced. The Quality audit will only be unannounced if conducted with an unannounced audit of the SQF Food Safety Code.

What is SPC?
SPC is statistical process control. It is a requirement of the SQF Quality Code that SPC, or other appropriate quality tools, are used to reduce process variation and drive root cause analysis of non-conformities.

In the Quality Code, 2.1.2.5- competency in SPC is required. Is there completion of an SPC course considered competent?
Completion of an SPC course will certainly assist, but the important aspect is being able to take the learnings from an SPC course and apply them to a particular work environment.

Will auditors for the Quality Code be treated as a separate credential?
The requirements for auditors of the SQF Quality Code will be published shortly. There will be additional requirements over and above those for SQF food safety auditors.

Section 2.4.7.1 of the quality codes calls for a positive release program. Is that a blanket “shall” requirement, or will it be based on risk?
“Positive release” is a ‘shall’ requirement, but the extent of the positive release program will be based on risk. The intent is to ensure that all distributed product complies product specifications, sensory, packaging and package integrity, labeling, delivery and service requirements, depending on need and risk.

Do you have to use the term “CQP”? As long as it meets the requirements of being a “CQP” can it be termed something else?
Other terms can be used as long as the term CCP is NOT used to identify critical quality points. CCPs must be reserved for food safety critical control points.




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