A Food Safety Program That’s Right for You!


Your goal is to sell product to a food retailer. You’ve heard they require a robust food safety program to protect their retail brand and maintain consumer trust. Now to get their business you must deliver!

Food safety is a critical component of a successful supplier/buyer trading partnership, and you need an approach that satisfies the retailer’s concerns.

Our solution is the SQF Fundamentals Program:

SQFI has created a solution for small and medium sized suppliers who don’t have a robust food safety management program in place or want to take their existing program to the next level. [Codes available in English and Spanish.]
SQFI has developed the Fundamentals Program for Food Manufacturing and the Fundamentals Program for Primary Producers, just for business owners like yourself. Each program has both basic and intermediate levels, and provides a step-by-step approach to improve food safety management.  Our new approach will be beneficial to emerging businesses by providing the following:
Tip Sheet 1Getting Started 
Tip Sheet 2Choosing the right SQF Certification
Tip Sheet 3Preventing Food Safety Risks
Tip Sheet 4Management Commitment
Tip Sheet 5The Site Audit
Tip Sheet 6HACCP Overview
Tip Sheet 7Approved Supplier Program
Tip Sheet 8Specifications
Tip Sheet 9 Document Control and Records Management
Tip Sheet 10Legislation
Tip Sheet 11Correction, Corrective Action, and  Preventative Action
Tip Sheet 12Conducting a Risk Assessment
Tip Sheet 13Employee Training Program
Tip Sheet 14Food Defense Plan
        Tip Sheet 15Product Identification, Traceability, Withdrawal and Recall
        Tip Sheet 16Verification and Validation
        Tip Sheet 17Allergen Management
        Tip Sheet 18Internal Audit Plan
        Tip Sheet 19Environmental Monitoring
        Tip Sheet 20Crisis Management
        Tip Sheet 21Pest Prevention
        Tip Sheet 22Personal Hygiene Plan
        Tip Sheet 23Housekeeping
        Tip Sheet 24Cleaning
        Tip Sheet 25Equipment Selection and Maintenance

Goals of the Program:

The goal of the SQF Fundamentals Program is to help protect your brand from the risk of a recall and satisfy your buyer’s requirements. The SQF Fundamentals Program helps to facilitate retailer acceptance of entrepreneur’s like you, providing food safety security and acceptance along the supply chain.
  Built as a step-wise approach, The SQF Fundamentals Program is designed to help you integrate robust food safety standards into your existing practices, while creating  a pathway to achieving globally accepted GFSI certification.
   The codes within the fundamentals program provides a seamless transition to the SQF Food Safety Program, which is bench-marked to the GFSI standards. The SQF Fundamentals Codes were developed using the GFSI Global Markets Programme toolkit, which meets retailers and buyers requirements for small and medium food producers. This new program will help to create a win-win scenario where all parties can benefit from safer food and increased brand protection.

Features of the Program:

  • The focus for the Fundamental Code is for the small to medium sites
  • There are different Codes for the manufacturing and primary production food sectors. Each of these Codes is broken up into two different approaches- Basic and Intermediate. The Basic Code focuses on the implementation of the Code requirements and less about documentation. Within the Intermediate Code, there is an introduction of documentation however; implementation is still the main focus.
  • The technical requirements in all the Food Safety Fundamental Codes meet the requirements in the GFSI Global Markets program.
  • The Code development uses retailer and public review and feedback

Advantages of the Program:

  • Only CBs licensed to SQF can issue a certificate against the SQF Fundamentals Code
  • Only auditors that are registered with SQF can audit against the SQF Fundamentals Code
  • The requirement for the desk audit for initial certifications was removed for this program. The desk audit can still be conducted however, it is not mandatory and the document review can be part of the initial certification audit.
  • There is no score issued upon completion of the certification or certification audit. However, for those sites that need a score to meet a retailer requirement, there is an option for scoring. The goal was to place the emphasis on the level of non-conformance and the number of deficiencies issued. A site passes and receives a certificate all non-conformances have been closed out and a surveillance audit is required for those sites that received 2 major or 10 minor non-conformances.
  • The time frame for the site to have their re-certification audit was extended to 45 days either side the anniversary date (for the Food Safety Code, that date is 30 days +/- the anniversary date). This provides flexibility for the CB and scheduling audits with available auditors.
  • The unannounced audit requirement was removed.

Overview of Training Options:

SQFI will be using a three pronged approach to adeptly address the learning and access needs for a varying audience:

  • Online course (focus is on the Intermediate level)
  • Paper-based, self-directed learning tools
  • Instructor-led training

The self-directed learning tools can be used alone or in conjunction with online or instructor-led training.

Advantages of the Different Training Options:

  • Online course – easy access via a laptop; no need for travel; self-paced; ability to repeat lessons; knowledge checks for understanding.
  • Instructor-led training – knowledge sharing and problem solving among industry peers; immediate expert advice and guidance; activities used to aid understanding.
  • Self-directed learning – accessible and approachable; self-guided; low cost; guided activities allow for progressive development of a food safety system; modular – learn as much or as little as needed; can be accessed online or printed.

Download the Codes and Get Started: