The SQF 2000 code is described as a HACCP-based Supplier Assurance Code for the food manufacturing and distribution industries.
The 2000 Code of Safe Quality Food (SQF) is a quality management certification program and is a recognized Global Food Safety Initiative scheme. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a collaboration between retailers, manufacturers and food service companies, as well as service providers associated with the food supply chain. It is coordinated by The Consumer Goods Forum, an independent global network of consumer goods retailers and manufacturers worldwide with approximately 400 members, in over 150 countries.
In May 2000, the GFSI was launched, and it defines requirements for food safety plans through a benchmarking process.
Processing plans approved by GFSI include BRC Global Standard Version 5, Dutch HACCP (Option B), FSSC 22000, Global Aquaculture Alliance Version 2 (GAA Seafood Processing Standard), Global Red Meat Standard Version 3, International Food Standard Version 5, SQF 2000 Level 2 and Synergy 22000.
The SQF Code was first developed in 1994 with the help of experts in the food industry and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines. The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) acquired the rights to the SQF program in 2003 and created the Division of the SQF Institute (SQFI) to manage the program.
The SQF 2000 Code consists of 13 sections, and the main requirements for food quality management systems are outlined in Section 4 SQF 2000 System Requirements, Section 5 Food Safety Essentials – Building, Equipment Design, and Construction, and Section 6 Food Safety Essentials – Prerequisite Software.
The SQF 2000 code is a HACCP-based quality management system standard designed for use by all sectors of the food industry. The Code emphasizes the use of NACMCF and CODEX HACCP principles and guidelines to assist the supplier in producing safe food. Implementation of the SQF 2000 Quality Management System requires addressing the food safety and quality requirements of customers.
Certification of SQF 2000 systems demonstrates that food safety plans have been implemented in accordance with the HACCP method. Certification to the SQF 2000 Code is an indication of organizations commitment to producing safe, high quality food in compliance with the requirements of the SQF 2000 Code and applicable food legislation.
The 2000 SQF Code is divided into three levels of certification that refer to the food safety and quality management system standard:
Level 1: Food Safety Basics
Prerequisite programs are established that include the basic safety controls necessary for safe food production and processing. This level is suitable for low-risk products.
Level 2: HACCP approved food safety plans
Prerequisite programs and safety risk assessments for products and processes are established using the HACCP method, and action plans are established to eliminate, prevent, or reduce safety risks.
This is the minimum for suppliers of high-risk products.
Level 3: Developing total quality management systems
Prerequisite programs and safety risk assessments for products and processes are developed using the HACCP method, action plans to remove, prevent or reduce food hazards as well as food quality assessments are completed to determine the necessary controls to ensure a consistent level of quality. Level 1 and Level 2 certification are prerequisites for a Level 3 SQF certification. The SQF 2000 brand can only be used after Level 3 certification has been obtained.