By: Safe Quality Food Institute Team at FMI
Food safety is a critical component of a successful supplier/buyer trading partnership, and SQFI has created an approach for small to medium size food producers who don’t have a robust food safety program in place that satisfies buyers and retailer’s concerns.
SQFI’s Fundamentals Program for Food Manufacturing and the Fundamentals Program for Primary Producers have both basic and intermediate levels, and provide a step-by-step approach to improve food safety management. The SQF Fundamentals Program helps to facilitate retailer acceptance of entrepreneurs, providing food safety security and acceptance along the supply chain.
This approach is beneficial for growing businesses by providing the following:
- A streamlined path to GFSI Food Safety Certification
- The technical requirements in all the Food Safety Fundamental Codes meet the requirements in the GFSI Global Markets Programme.
- The layout and design of the SQF Codes, including the Fundamentals Code, is designed to help you achieve the level of food safety certification that you need. Each Code builds on the previous one to provide a continuous improvement certification pathway.
Some advantages of using the SQF Fundamentals Program are:
- Only CBs licensed to SQF can issue a certificate against the SQF Fundamentals Code
- Only auditors that are registered with SQF can audit against the SQF Fundamentals Code
- There is no score issued upon completion of the certification or certification audit. However, for those sites that need a score to meet a retailer requirement, there is an option for scoring. The goal was to place the emphasis on the level of non-conformance and the number of deficiencies issued. A site passes and receives a certificate all non-conformances have been closed out and a surveillance audit is required for those sites that received 2 major or 10 minor non-conformances.
To further help the emerging business succeed, SQFI has developed training tools and capacity building strategies, because we know business owners need support and assistance along the way. The training tools we’ve created are key resources to the business because they often don’t have the means to have a full time dedicated food safety professional on staff. Because we know learning about the program and adapting this into a business does not happen overnight, SQFI has allowed for about a six month implementation of the program and audits.
SQFI has established a three pronged approach to expertly address the learning and access needs for varying audiences:
- Online course (focus is on the Intermediate Level)
- Paper-based, self-directed learning tools
- Instructor-led training by approved licensed trainers
For more information about the SQF Fundamentals Program, visit www.sqfi.com/what-is-the-sqf-program/sqf-fundamentals-program/.