Select Site Program

It’s essential to be audit ready. In fact, good food safety and quality practices should be adhered to and practiced on a consistent basis. Not just when your auditor or inspector is scheduled to arrive. We have created a program that takes suppliers to the next level of commitment and readiness.

Our Select Site Program allows supplier sites to elect to have an unannounced audit each recertification year instead of the mandatory one audit every three years. 

Contact Compliance Staff

Tammie Van Buren

Compliance Manager, SQFI

Elizabeth Tierno

Technical Specialist - Compliance, SQFI


Program Goal & Who It's For

The Select Site Program demonstrates commitment to an improved food safety culture within your business and offers greater transparency to retailers and business partners through voluntary annual unannounced re-certification audits.

This program is for:

  • SQF-certified sites.
  • Businesses looking to enhance their food safety commitment.
  • Businesses expanding their food safety culture.

Program Features

  • Audit Schedule: An SQF-certified site may forgo once every three-year unannounced audit requirement and voluntarily elect to have annual unannounced re-certification audits. If the site elects annual unannounced re-certification audits, then the protocol outlined for unannounced audits shall be followed.
  • Recognition: Sites with annual unannounced re-certification audits shall be recognized on the SQF Certificate and public directory as an “SQFI Select Site."
  • Risk Mitigation: By implementing the SQF Select Site Program, sites effectively identify, assess, and control food safety hazards, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses and product recalls. It promotes a proactive approach to managing potential risks.
  • Continuous Improvement: The SQF Select Site Program promotes a culture of continuous improvement. It encourages sites to regularly review and enhance their processes, incorporating best practices and staying up to date with evolving food safety and quality requirements.
  • Access to Markets: SQF Select Site Certification opens doors to new market opportunities. Some retailers, brand owners, and foodservice providers require suppliers to be SQF certified and require the Select Site Program. Choosing the Select Site option makes entering and maintaining business relationships with these entities easier.
  • Supplier Relationships: Being SQF Select Site certified strengthens relationships with suppliers. It demonstrates a commitment to high standards and encourages collaboration in ensuring the safety and quality of the entire supply chain.

Select Site Program Policy Manual

This policy manual outlines the requirements of our Select Site Program


How to Become a Select Site

Sites can voluntarily elect to have annual unannounced re-certification audits.

1. An SQF certified site can declare its intent to hold SQFI Select Site status prior to any unannounced re-certification audit.

2. A letter of intent, provided by SQFI, which outlines the site’s commitment to an annual unannounced re-certification audit is to be provided by the certification body to the site. The letter is to be signed by the site prior to the completion of the site’s unannounced audit to demonstrate their commitment to participating in annual unannounced recertification audits.

3. The certification body will notify SQFI when a site agrees to participate in the Select Site program and will provide SQFI with a copy of the signed letter of intent.

4. The certification body will designate the site as a Select Site in the SQF Assessment Database. This designation option will only appear once the audit type of unannounced is selected.

5. Our Certified Sites Directory identifies all sites in the SQFI Select Site program.

6. This SQFI Select Site designation is added to the SQF certificate next to audit type.

7. The protocol for the SQFI Select Site program is to follow the unannounced recertification audit protocol outlined in the SQF Food Safety Codes for every unannounced recertification audit.

8. If a site fails to allow any of the unannounced re-certification audits to occur or fails to allow entry of an SQF auditor for an unannounced recertification audit during the unannounced recertification audit window, then the suspension protocol in the SQF Food Safety Codes will apply.

9. Once a site leaves the program, the certificate status will change in the Certified Site Directory, and the site can no longer represent itself as a SQFI Select Site.

10. If a site changes certification bodies, and wishes to continue in the Select Site program, a new letter of intent is to be issued by the new certification body and signed by the site.

Join The SQF Select Sites Program

To join the select site program, an agreement between the site and the certification body must be signed and a copy filed with the Integrity Program Team prior to their next unannounced audit. See the Select Site Program Policy Manual for a draft letter of intent. Sites will be recognized in the SQFI Site Directory as participating in this program.

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