Frequently asked questions
How long do I have to complete the course?
Users have access to the course content for 30 days after beginning the course. During the 30-day period, the user may start and stop at their leisure. Users who fail to complete the eLearning course in the time available will not be eligible for a refund.
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, 18.104.22.168- 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 22.214.171.124 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.
Can we use edition 8 of the Code prior to the implementation date of January 2nd?
Any audits scheduled prior to January 2, 2018, will be under edition 7.2. There will be no exceptions.
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.
Our initial certification audit is in 2017 under edition 7.2. Will I have to re-certify to edition 8 in January once the Code is implemented?
If a site is audited against edition 7.2 in 2017, then their recertification audit date will be conducted twelve months from their initial certification audit against edition 8. There is no need to have an audit prior to that date against edition 8.
If our unannounced audit is scheduled to be conducted in 2018, will it be to edition 8?
Unannounced recertification audits scheduled for 2018 will be under edition 8.
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.
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.
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:
- Be employed by the site as a company employee on a full-time basis;
- Hold a position of responsibility in relation to the management of the site’s SQF System;
- Have completed a HACCP training course;
- Be competent to implement and maintain HACCP based food safety plans; and
- Have an understanding of the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing and therequirements 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: https://www.sqfi.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Adv-SQF-Pract-Approved-Trainers-2.pdf
I’m currently an SQF food safety practitioner; will I need to retake the training or exam for the SQF Food Safety Code, edition 8?
There is no requirement to register or “certify” as a practitioner. A person in the role of a practitioner must meet the requirements of 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 of the SQF Food Safety Code, edition 8. Therefore, there is no need to “re-register” or “re-certify,” nor is there a need to retake either the Implementing SQF Systems course or the Implementing SQF System examination if already successfully completed to a previous edition. Please note however, that the food safety practitioner is required to have an understanding of the SQF Code [edition 8] at their level of certification and the requirements to implement and maintain SQF System relevant to the supplier scope of certification, so the practitioner may feel they will need to take further training on edition 8, which can be done with our Implementing SQF Systems for Manufacturing Course.
What will I need to do to qualify as an SQF quality practitioner?
The education and knowledge requirements of an SQF practitioner are outlined in SQF Quality Code, edition 8 in element 184.108.40.206. They are as follows:
“In addition to the SQF Food Safety Code requirements, the SQF quality practitioner shall:
- Be competent to implement and maintain HACCP-based food quality plans;
- Understand the SQF Quality Code and the requirements to implement and maintain a quality management system; and
- Be competent in statistical process control (SPC) and/or other quality tools to reduce process variation and drive root cause analysis of non-conformities.”
Although there are no specific requirements for training or testing, the practitioner must demonstrate knowledge of the current version of the SQF Quality Code. Some may choose to do this by successfully completing our SQF Quality Systems for Manufacturing course.
Do you offer courses to help pass the Advanced SQF Practitioner Exam?
A two-day Advanced SQF Practitioner course is offered exclusively through approved SQF trainers who can offer the course around the world and in your facility.
The SQF Advanced Practitioner Course is designed for the current SQF practitioner seeking further information on how to improve and maintain the supplier’s SQF System.
A two-day Advanced SQF Practitioner course is offered exclusively through approved SQF trainers who can offer the course around the world and in your facility. The SQF Advanced Practitioner Course is designed for the current SQF practitioner seeking further information on how to improve and maintain the supplier’s SQF System.
Click here for a list of approved Advanced SQF Practitioner trainers.