SQF Becomes First Internationally Accredited Third-Party Assessment Program to Require Unannounced Audits

The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of the Food Marketing Institute, announced today the incorporation of an unannounced audit protocol to be included in the next revision of the SQF Code (SQF). With the support of its Technical Advisory Council, representing SQF stakeholders, SQF will become the first internationally accredited third-party assessment program to require unannounced audits. Robert Garfield, senior vice president, SQFI, issued the following statement:

“SQFI’s unannounced audit protocol will be introduced in February 2014 and implemented in July 2014, and will require that one out of every three SQF audits will be unannounced.

“We made the decision to enhance the rigor of the SQFI program after consulting with numerous stakeholders. We understand that the food industry must respond to and meet the nation’s food safety challenges more rapidly and effectively, which requires a more nimble approach to our program.

“Although many stakeholders, such as governments and consumer organizations, recognize the efficacy of the SQFI food safety management program, unannounced audits will elevate the SQF Program to the next level by providing a standard that will prepare SQF-Certified suppliers to be audit-ready at any time. We believe that each facility must be prepared every day for an assessment.”

One Response to “SQF Becomes First Internationally Accredited Third-Party Assessment Program to Require Unannounced Audits”

  1. This announcement is an unexpected twist. I attended the SQF conference in November and nothing was mentioned about unannounced audits becoming a criteria for SQF certification.

    My company fully understands the need for the SQF food safety system within a facility to be ready at all times, but the SQF audits themselves are a major undertaking for each of our facilities each year. We require that all management staff including plant superintendent, asst. superintendent, QA manager, sanitation manager and several supporting staff be available. Without prior notice, having these people avaliable is difficult.

    I am the corporate SQF manager and am required to be at all audits. We have 11 facilities certified. If one is scheduled and another is unannounced, having support at both facilities is not possible.

    Again, my company understands the reasoning behind this decision, but want SQFI to realize the hardships an unannounced SQF audit will cause our facilites.

    Thank you for your time. If possible, I would like a reply to our concerns.

    Leanna Kilpatrick
    Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation

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