The big question we’re hearing from food manufacturers is, “Does SQF 8 apply to SQF Level 2 or Level 3 or both?” The answer is both! SQF Code Edition 8 applies to all certification, re-certification and unannounced SQF audits beginning January 3, 2018.
Some of the confusion is due to the new, redesigned levels and food sector-specific categories in SQF Edition 8 that replace Certification Levels 1, 2 and 3:
The New SQF Certifications
- SQF Food Safety Fundamentals (formerly Level 1)
- SQF Food Safety Code (formerly Level 2)
- Primary Production
- Storage and Distribution
- Food Packaging
- SQF Food Quality Code (formerly Level 3) – Can be conducted with or without the food safety audit
What new required elements are in SQF Edition 8?
Quite a few new elements and updates are included. Here we’ve highlighted some key changes in SQF Edition 8:
- A new SQFI Select Supplier certification via voluntary annual re-certification audits
- GFSI Version 7 bench-marking requirements
- SPC or other appropriate quality tools to reduce process variation and drive root cause analysis of nonconformities
- Critical Quality Points – CQP’s (The term CCP is reserved for food safety critical control points, not food quality.)
- Continuity during organizational and personnel changes
- Evaluation of changes for quality, implementation and customer communication
- Customer requirements and expectations
- Food defense plan, food fraud vulnerability assessment, and food fraud mitigation plan for incoming materials
- Allergen management
- Supplier requirements extended to more types of material providers
- Safeguard and properly use customer property
- Packing procedures for product startup and changeover
- Quarantine for food packaging product returned from customers
- Auditing of all operational shifts where applicable
- Option for audit blackout periods for seasonal businesses
- Option for corporate head office audits
You can download a set of spreadsheets detailing all changes large and small. Go to SQFI’s documents page and scroll down to the heading, SQF Code – Edition 8: Summary of Changes Documents.
SQFI’s Edition 8 FAQs document is also useful.
Tamlin Software’s team has food industry experience and expertise on SQF + GFSI requirements. Our structured, step-by-step implementation process for technology and training makes it easy for you to confidently manage your food safety and food quality. Please reach out to us with your questions. We’re here to help.