Guide to SQF Certification

SQF, or Safe Quality Foods, is a standard developed in 1994 in Australia. What started as a food safety standard has evolved into a group of standards embraced by the food industry. SQF includes food safety from its origin at the agricultural level to food processing to its final destination in a retail environment. Some standards apply to things like food quality, package manufacturing, distribution and food storage. All of this is managed by the SQFI (Safe Quality Foods Institute). What is SQF certification exactly, and how do you go about getting it? This article will explain the process and give some background on why SQF compliance is vital to the food industry in general and your business in particular. We’ll help you understand the different SQF certification levels, as well as the SQF requirements you have to meet to achieve them.

What Is SQF Certification?

Performing as an independent program, SQF certification benefits companies by supplying them with a higher level of credibility. Audits will often result in helpful advice for improving a company’s systems. SQF’s independent certification ensures that food safety and quality comply with domestic and international food safety regulations. Arguably the best thing about the SQF certification program is it covers both product safety and quality, giving consumers a reason to buy because they know what they purchase from you meets consistent, established quality standards.

What Are The SQF Certification Levels?

There are three SQF Levels. SQF Level 1 and 2 Certifications are based on what food products are being handled. SQF Level 3 Certification is comprehensive and encompasses multiple processes. Here is a breakdown of each level:

  • SQF Level 1: Fundamentals of Food Safety — Low-risk products fall into SQF Level 1 Certification. Suppliers must establish prerequisite programs that employ basic controls for food safety. These programs are necessary to provide the foundation for the production and manufacture of food products that are safe.
  • SQF Level 2: Certified HACCP — Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) Level 2 Certification is the minimum level for products considered high risk. Because high-risk foods can support the growth of bacteria that causes food poisoning, this scheme helps ensure products are protected from chemical, biological and physical hazards during the food production process. Suppliers must keep a record of food safety risk assessment. SQF Level 2 certification is essential to ensure the final food product is safe, offers measures to identify potential risks and provides a solution to bring those products to a level that’s considered safe for human consumption.
  • SQF Level 3: Comprehensive Certification — SQF Level 3 Certification, known as Comprehensive Quality Management Systems Development, can be pursued only after completion of SQF Level 1 and SQF Level 2 . To achieve Level 3, suppliers need to complete and document a food quality assessment of their product, along with its related process, and explain the controls required to create a consistent quality level. Once SQF Level 3 Certification has been achieved, the supplier is authorized to use the SQF 1000 or 2000 certification mark.

What’s The Difference Between SQF 1000 and SQF 2000 Certification?

SQF Code 1000 is for primary producers, while SQF Code 2000 was created for manufacturers and distributors.

Why Is SQF Certification Beneficial?

The obvious benefit to achieving SQF certification is to ensure consumer confidence in the products you sell. Food safety is, understandably, a huge concern for consumers, producers and government regulators. No one wants to implement a food recall. SQF certification demonstrates your commitment to the safe production and trade of food products. There are other reasons for your company to apply for an SQF certificate:

  • SQF certification prepares your organization for inspection by regulatory authorities.
  • Robust food safety programs reduce the risk of legal liability.
  • SQF certification provides a competitive edge over companies that are not certified.
  • There is a reduced risk of supply chain issues.
  • Enhanced food safety management systems ensure compliance and consistency.
  • SQF certification improves your brand equity, particularly when SQF Level 3 is achieved.

What Steps Are Involved In Getting SQF Certification?

Obtaining SQF certification is based on the industry you’re in, but all certifications include these steps to fulfill SQF requirements:

  • A 2-day certified HACCP Class is required. SQF practitioners offer the course – just make sure the practitioner you choose has the proper training. You will also be required to take auditor training.
  • Team members receive proper training, including anything that is specific to your particular business. Select employees on the management team must also receive specific training related to SQF compliance programs, plus training in crisis management and the principles of HACCP.
  • You must have effective HACCP and Prerequisite Programs in place.
  • It’s recommended you have an audit performed to ensure your program is implemented properly so you can identify any potential gaps. Once identified, these items should be assigned to your team so they can make necessary corrections.
  • Have an SQF pre-assessment audit performed before the official audit to ensure all gaps in your system have been fixed prior to the final certification audit.

Does Custom Collagen Have SQF Certification?

Yes, we have achieved SQF certification, and Custom Collagen maintains SQF compliance as required. We are also quality certified by the following groups:

  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP): GMP certifies that our products are made in an FDA-approved facility.
  • Natural Products Association (NPA): NPA provides consumers with confidence and public credibility by providing members with regulatory guidance and protection, as well as label and claims expertise.
  • Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL): 21 CFR 111 Compliant for dietary supplement manufacturing, packaging, and warehousing.
  • Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Registered: Custom Collagen is registered with the FDA, we comply with all regulations and we are regularly inspected by FDA authorized representatives to validate our compliance.

Choose High-Quality Products From SQF-Certified Custom Collagen

For over 80 years, Custom Collagen has delivered clean collagen and gelatin products for various industries and applications while maintaining the highest quality standards. We are proud of our Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certification. We fully support this rigorous food safety and quality program recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) for all sectors of the food supply chain. Along with SQF certification, we are certified by GMP, NPA, UL and the FDA – so you can feel confident that Custom Collagen is your best source for bulk gelatin products custom-made to meet your strict requirements. We use the finest ingredients that have been sourced from around the globe, processing them to suit your needs. Please contact us with any questions you may have.