What is an SQF Audit? How Do I Pass an SQF Audit?

An SQF (Safe Quality Food) audit is a system of food safety requirements created and managed by the SQF Institute and is a Food Safety Management Certification program. SQF is used to control the food safety risks that inherently happen ...

What is an SQF audit and how to pass it

An SQF (Safe Quality Food) audit is a system of food safety requirements created and managed by the SQF Institute and is a Food Safety Management Certification program. SQF is used to control the food safety risks that inherently happen with various types of food processing, packaging, and storage. 

There are many benefits that come with being SQF certified. SQF certification is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Your food packaging, processing, or food retail business can build confidence and trust with customers, who will feel secure knowing that you have a rigorous food safety system in place.

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SQF is “the gold standard” of food safety audits.

A successful SQF audit is considered the “gold standard” of food safety certifications. SQF is also considered a more rigorous audit than GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). A SQF certification will make your food product eligible to get into retail stores such as Walmart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, and Meier. FoodReady has food safety professionals that can help you navigate and this difficult process by performing gap assessments, mock audits and internal audits of your process and facility.

To get SQF certified, a third-party SQF Auditor must be brought into your facility to examine your manufacturing process and ensure the facility is meeting the stringent requirements of the SQF Institute and the United States Government. Each category of food manufacturing, processing, packaging, storage, and distribution must meet the standards on the SQF audit checklists.

FoodReady can help you get prepared for the SQF audit and our Certified SQF consultant can perform internal audits, mock audits, and gap assessments, as well as write HACCP plans. And don’t forget we have software and templates to create your own HACCP plans as well. 

FAQs

While it is possible to prepare for an SQF audit on your own, the complexity and detail involved in meeting SQF standards often require expert guidance. Hiring a certified SQF consultant can help identify gaps in your current system, provide recommendations for improvement, and assist with mock audits to prepare for the actual certification audit.
The cost of an SQF Audit varies based on the scope of the audit, the size of the facility, and the level of certification being pursued. Costs can include fees for the auditor, preparation work, possible changes to processes or facilities to meet SQF standards, and the certification fee. It’s advisable to get a quote from a certified SQF auditor or consulting firm for a more accurate estimate.
If you fail your SQF Audit, you will receive a report detailing the non-conformances found. You will then have a specified timeframe to address these issues and undergo a follow-up audit. The ability to address the non-conformances effectively is crucial to achieving certification.

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Saro Loucks

Saro Loucks is the Director of Content and a Food Safety Advisor for FoodReady. Saro is certified in HACCP and a trained SQF Practitioner. When Saro is not editing, writing, or advising new customers on what food safety goals they should pursue, she enjoys spending time with her family, baking gluten-free sourdough bread, and playing Mahjong.
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