Safe Quality Foods (SQF 2000 Code) Edition 8.0 Update

Just like the weather, Food Safety Standards are constantly changing. Now that the latest update regarding Safe Quality Foods (SQF) 2000 Code, Edition 8.0 has been published, it is time to begin preparing for its implementation, starting on January 2, 2018.

Below is a summary of some significant changes to the new Edition 8.0 compared to the previous Edition 7.2 which includes but are not limited to:

Unannounced Re-Certification Audit Change

Previous SQF Food Safety Certification Audits require having one unannounced audit within a 3-year certification period, however, with Edition 8.0, the site may voluntarily choose to go above and beyond this requirement and conduct an unannounced certification audit every year. SQFI will recognize facilities who choose to conduct annual unannounced certification audit, by issuing certificate with a “SQF select site” notation.

SQF Food Safety and Quality Plan

SQF Level 2, Food Safety Plan and SQF Level 3, Quality Plan have been re-named as SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing and SQF Quality Plan, respectively. When registering your facility for the SQF Certification audit, you may now opt either to be audited against both the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing and the SQF Quality Plan or to be audited only against the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing. If the SQF Quality Plan is audited but does not pass, this will not affect the score or rating for the Food Safety certificate. The SQF Quality Plan is not score or rate, but the site must successfully maintain the SQF Food Safety Certificate and close out all quality deviations (within 30-days) before being granted the SQF Quality Certificate. The scoring and rating system for the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing (formerly Level 2) remains the same. A certification audit for the SQF Quality Plan may be conducted at the same time as the Food Safety certification audit, or it may be conducted independently at any time while the Facility has a valid Food Safety certificate.

Environmental Monitoring Module Change

Environmental Monitoring has been moved from Module 11 (High Risk Processes, Section 11.7.4) to Module 2 (Environmental Monitoring, Section 2.4.8), and requires all facilities to conduct a risk-assessment to determine the applicable pathogens of concern or indicator organisms for that industry, the level of samples, sample frequency, and to conduct corrective actions in the event of negative environmental trending.

New Additions to Approved Supplier Program

The Approved Supplier Program (Section 2.4.4.) now includes additional measures to secure incoming materials and ingredients and protect them from deliberate acts of sabotage or intentional adulteration. The site must conduct a food fraud vulnerability assessment including raw material or ingredients that are susceptible to substitution, mislabeling, dilution and counterfeiting, and could potentially impact food safety. Raw materials, ingredients and packaging materials received from other facilities even under the same corporate ownership shall be subject to the same requirements as all other material suppliers.

Food Fraud Addition

“Site Security” (Section 2.7) has been re-named as “Food Defense & Food Fraud”, with Food Fraud (section 2.7.2), added as a new section, requiring facilities to conduct a food fraud vulnerability assessment. The Food Fraud Plan must include specific methods to mitigate and control the identified vulnerabilities and the plan must be reviewed and verified at least annually.

Other Minor Changes

  • Below is a list of some of the minor changes or sections that have been removed or relocated to a different section in the new SQF Edition 8.0.
  • Management Responsibility (section 2.1.2.10): Requires senior site management to ensure the integrity and continued operation of the food safety system in the event of organizational or personnel changes within the company or organization. The senior site management must also designate a defined blackout periods that prevents unannounced re-certification audits from occurring out of season or when site is not in operation.
  • Raw and Packing Materials (section 2.3.2.2): Requires all raw and packaging materials and ingredients to ensure compliance with relevant legislation in the country of manufacture and the country of destination, if known.
  • Food Legislation (section 2.4.1): Requires that at time of delivery, the food supplied must comply with legislation where the food is produced but also must comply with legislation in the country of use or sale.
  • Food Legislation (Section 2.4.1.3): Requires SQFI to be notified in writing, within 24 hours, in the event of a product recall or regulatory warning using the provide email contact foodsafetycrisis@sqfi.com.
  • SQF System Verification (Section 2.5): This section of the code has been removed and merged with other existing sections and elements.
  • First Aid (Section 11.3.11): This section has been removed in the new Edition 8.0.
  • Identity Preserved Foods (Section 2.8) and General Requirements for Identity Preserved Foods (Section 2.8.1): These two sections have been moved to the SQF Quality Plan.

For a complete listing of all the changes from the SQF 2000 Code, Edition 7.2 to the new Edition 8.0, please visit http://www.sqfi.com/documents/ and click on the “Summary of Changes: The SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing” and the “Summary of Changes: SQF Food Quality Code.”