Food Manufacturers enthusiastically welcome the recent acknowledgment by the US Food and Drug Administration of the SQF program for its alignment with the FDA FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) rule.  

Food manufacturers undergo multiple food safety audits by customers, regulators, and audit bodies every year. Since introducing the final PCHF rule in 2015, the food industry has actively advocated for the FDA to consider standards established by other governmental agencies, associations, and private organizations. These alternative standards often offer more comprehensive guidelines than the PCHF rule itself. In October 2020 FDA initiated a pilot program to consider if alternate standards could align with the FDA regulations.  

FDA issued its formal statement on July 17, 2023, concluding the pilot program and acknowledging alignment of the SQF program. FDA reviewed the SQF Food Safety Code: Food Manufacturing (Ed. 9) and the SQF Addendum for the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule (SQF FSMA Addendum). In comparing over 560 provisions of FSMA PCHF rule they determined that the program standards are aligned with applicable FDA regulations.  

Sites that achieve SQF certification with the SQF FSMA addendum benefit from increased confidence that SQF adequately addresses applicable FDA food safety requirements. This acknowledgment benefits food manufacturers who comply with the SQF program for the assurance it provides to buyers who are required to assess supplier conformance to FSMA regulations.  

For importers, distributors, retail, and food service buyers, SQF program alignment provides assurance that they are purchasing from facilities with a robust food safety management system that meets the Global Food Safety Initiative benchmarked requirements and operates in conformance with applicable U.S. food law.  

SQF is grateful to all its stakeholders who contribute to the development and continual improvement of the SQF program and commends the US FDA for implementing this initiative to bring value and efficiency into the food safety conformance assessment process.  

The FDA acknowledgment furthers SQF’s mission to ensure safe quality food for everyone and to enhance food safety competencies of the industry through the application of the SQF Food Codes and SQF training programs.  

Manufacturers not yet SQF certified will seek certification to ensure conformance with U.S. law. Certification to the SQF Food Safety Code for Food Manufacturing, edition 9, along with the PCHF addendum, is a promising opportunity for all manufacturers, including small and medium-sized food businesses, to demonstrate compliance to food safety requirements through a one-stop process. 

The result: A simpler and safer food system.