August 20, 2014
Dear Valued SQF Stakeholder,
As you are aware, in July SQFI started to implement an unannounced audit protocol that requires one out of every three SQF audits will be unannounced. We made the decision back in 2013 to enhance the rigor of the SQF program after consulting with numerous stakeholders. We knew that unannounced audits would elevate the SQF program to the next level by providing a standard that would prepare SQF-Certified suppliers to be audit-ready at any time.
We thought you would be interested to know that Walmart announced yesterday they are “encouraging all stakeholders and our suppliers, where appropriate, to move towards unannounced audits against GFSI benchmarked schemes.” This follows along with ASDA’s (Walmart’s business in the UK) announcement last year, to make unannounced audits part of a requirement to do business with them.
According to a letter from Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety & Health at Walmart, the company supports the motto “Once certified, accepted everywhere.” In the letter Mr. Yiannas wrote, “In light of our recent decision at ASDA and based on the overall trend in the industry, we would like to ask all GFSI benchmarked scheme owners to consider offering an unannounced option within your scheme by June 2015…. We believe unannounced audits, where applicable depending on the commodity and type of operation, will help suppliers demonstrate their commitment to food safety by being ‘audit-ready’ at all times. Moreover, it’s just one more demonstration of our commitment to continuous improvement throughout the entire food system.”
SQFI developed its unannounced audit protocol to prepare our clients for the future of third party accredited assessments, which are in line with food safety management expectations of industry stakeholders and consumers.
SQFI continuously seeks ways to improve our program and processes. Our goal is to be the single most trusted source for global food safety and quality certification. As we progress, SQFI welcomes your thoughts and recommendations to make an efficient and robust management system even better. Please contact us at email@example.com if you need more information about SQF’s unannounced audit protocol. Visit http://www.sqfi.com/wp-content/uploads/Final-Unannounced-Audit-Protocol-and-FAQ.pdf for the process and FAQ’s regarding the Unannounced Audit Protocol.
Robert L. Garfield
Senior Vice President, SQFI