SQFI’s partnerships with major food service and retail brands add value for SQF-certified operations. SQF collaborates with many retailers to ensure their needs are reflected in the SQF Codes so that suppliers understand expectations for meeting retailer food safety requirements.
Aligned with regulators and recognized by retailers, SQF Edition 9 Codes cover 12 industry scopes and 27 food sector categories.
SQF collaborates across many sectors to develop the globally accepted SQF Food Safety Codes, including packaging, manufacturing, food processing, storage and distribution, primary production, and codes designed for dietary supplements, animal feed, and pet food. In some cases, retailers can eliminate or significantly reduce their own audit requirements by accepting SQF certification for supplier approval.
SQFI recently collaborated with McDonald’s Corporation and NSF International to develop an audit addendum for McDonald’s produce suppliers who are certified SQF for plant production. The addendum is added to the SQF certification audit, rather than necessitating two separate audits.
SQFI’s Carey Allen, Vice President of Business Development, commented, “The combined audit saves time and money for the produce supplier; eliminating the second audit visit and reducing audit travel-related expenses in the process. The efforts of the SQF technical team and McDonald's on this effort are commendable for the value it brings to suppliers. We value the trust McDonald’s Corporation places in SQF certification.”
SQF and Comercializadora GAB, known as the Mr. Lucky brand, a McDonald’s produce supplier located in Mexico, worked together to pilot the audit addendum in combination with the SQF certification audit. Many of the requirements of the McDonald’s produce supplier audit were already covered by the SQF requirements, so the audit time was not significantly increased with the use of the addendum. Where McDonald’s requirements were not covered by the SQF certification audit, those specifically related to McDonald’s product or process specifications, the auditor evaluated conformance and completed a separate report designed for McDonald’s supplier approval team to review along with the SQF certification audit report.
McDonald’s has approved the use of the primary produce addendum coupled with SQF certification for all produce suppliers globally. This approval complements the existing McDonald’s addendum for food manufacturing for SQF certified sites. Suppliers inform their certification body, such as NSF, that they require the McDonald’s addendum when they apply for the SQF certification audit.
Martha Rita Hernández, Quality Manager from Mr. Lucky (Comercializadora GAB) stated, “Our company has been certified for 15 years under the SQF standard, which allows us to maintain a continuous improvement in our processes through constant verification and validation in the quality and food safety system during the handling and processing of Mr. Lucky brand products. Currently, the primary production complies with the same scheme and has strengthened us throughout the supply chain, in compliance with additional guidelines such as those required by McDonald's. Today, it is being facilitated thanks to a very complete analysis with the intervention of a team of specialists which allows us to have the certainty and confidence that it is wise to use all our resources to meet all the expectations of our customers, which have led us to be leaders in the produce industry."
This audit addendum collaboration between industry stakeholders and SQF drives additional value for supplier sites and retailers with time and cost savings for all parties. Suppliers have reduced audit-related expenses and retailers have fewer audits to manage and follow up. The certification body also benefits, since they can focus their SQF auditor time on conducting audits, rather than additional travel time related to separate customer audits.
SQF-licensed certification body, NSF International, whose office in Mexico participated in the pilot program, has been a long-time partner of SQFI, offering certification around the globe. Lucrecia Urizar, Business Development Director for NSF in Mexico, who initiated the project with Mr. Lucky, commented, “SQF is a popular program for certification in Mexico, not only because of its global recognition in our domestic and export markets but because of the resources offered by SQF to help sites get certified and grow successfully with retail partnerships. The network of SQF consultants and training centers available to food producers makes SQF certification achievable for suppliers of all sizes.”
NSF’s Sarah Krol, Managing Director of Supply Chain Food Safety states, “The SQF program is growing rapidly with more and more sites signing up for certification every year with NSF. We are very proud of the results of this pilot program with SQF and McDonald’s. We can now offer McDonald’s produce suppliers worldwide who are certified with SQF this combined service to save them time and money.”
SQF encourages retailer collaboration to increase efficiencies in the food safety oversight system so that food suppliers can focus their expertise and resources on keeping food safe, rather than managing repetitive audits. Contact SQF to learn how we can help you streamline supplier management with SQF certification.
Engage with us and become part of the community of stakeholders who make the SQF Codes the most effective and respected option in food safety assurance for suppliers of all sizes, across all sectors of the supply chain. Visit our training pages and start your registration today to get on the path to certification. Contact Jonathan Lackie (firstname.lastname@example.org) for support with any questions you have in the process.
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