Seeking an SQF certified manufacturer? Today, many supplement companies want to stand out with one or more notable manufacturing certifications. Our company can help you manufacture in multiple facilities throughout the United States, and this includes almost any type of packaging and supplement.
Since SQF certification covers foods and drinks, it applies to any ingestible supplement that is in solid or liquid form.
What Is the SQF Institute?
The Safe Quality Food Institute manages the SQF certification program. It is a global initiative that was developed by suppliers, manufacturers and other companies to promote the highest quality practices in food and beverage manufacturing. It also works with dietary supplements. The purpose of the SQF Institute is to ensure compliance at every step of the certification process. These are some important points to know about the SQF Institute:
- The SQF Institute is not limited to any specific nation.
- The SQF Institute is not part of any standard development organization or federal regulatory body.
- The SQF Institute’s vision for its certification is to be the top global source of food and beverage safety certification.
What Is GFSI?
People often hear GFSI mentioned in relation to the SQF Institute or SQF certification. GFSI is the Global Food Safety Initiative, which is part of the Food Business Forum. The entity consists of hundreds of manufacturers and retailers around the world. Although GFSI does not provide organizational certification, it determines which food safety certifications to reject or accept. These are the most important points to know about GFSI
- GFSI is a benchmark for determining the reliability or reputability of an independent certification body.
- GFSI recognizes several food safety certification organizations, including nearly every component of SQF.
What Is SQF Certification?
The Safe Quality Food Institute offers its Food Safety Certification to qualified manufacturers. This certification shows that a trusted third party audited the food safety management system of the manufacturing company.
To be certified, a company must meet the rigorous requirements of the SQF Institute.
These are some important things to know about this certification:
- The certification meets important GFSI criteria.
- Qualification rules are the same around the world.
- Certification indicates that a company adheres to some of the strictest standards in the food safety industry.
Components of SQF Certification
There are several different versions of SQF certification. To better understand the specifications of each one, it helps to understand the levels, modules and editions.
How Do SQF Editions Work?
For companies to maintain certification, they must follow the current edition of rules. Until recently, the current edition was Edition 7.2. It is no longer used for audits, which means that new or qualifying manufacturers must adhere to the provisions of the new code. The current code is Edition 8.
When the SQF Institute switched to Edition 8, it used these goals for guidance:
- Improve abilities to meet the needs of industry sectors.
- Encourage continual improvements among participants.
- Accommodate the latest FSMA changes and other regulatory changes.
- Meet the standards of the new GFSI Benchmarking Requirements.
Edition 8 positions manufacturers to meet nearly all of the Food Safety Modernization Act standards. The FSMA’s requirements are updated periodically as the United States and other global food safety organizations seek to improve food safety regulations.
How Do SQF Levels 1, 2, and 3 Work?
The levels have changed since Edition 7.2 was upgraded to Edition 8. These are the current levels:
- Food Safety Fundamentals
- Food Safety Plan
- Food Quality
Currently, Quality is for entities that are already certified. The Food Safety Fundamentals level is not recognized by GFSI, and HACCP is not required to achieve the level specification.
What are SQF Modules?
Modules are different sets of requirements based on the industry sector the manufacturer is in. There are several modules, which vary from one sector to another.
Manufacturers must follow their applicable codes based on what sector they are in. The most important module for the food industry is Module 2. This module describes the requirements that assure product safety.
If you want to learn more about the specific codes that supplement manufacturers operate under, we can provide paperwork and documentation to our customers.
Why Is SQF Certification Important?
The most important reason to seek SQF-compliant facilities is to work with companies that you know you can trust. SQF certification shows you that the supply chain includes high quality, highly certified entities. It shows you that the supplement manufacturer values its reputation, your reputation and your company’s future enough to maintain the strictest quality and safety standards.
To understand the importance of SQF-compliant manufacturing, it helps to review these benefits of certification.
After manufacturers create a food or supplement safety management system, the SQF Institute provides effective risk management solutions. It ensures that participating manufacturers maintain safe production standards with the following measures:
- Continual management of the safety system.
- Frequent monitoring for consistency and quality.
- Regular solutions for validating or improving the system.
For manufacturers and supplement brands, customer loyalty is critical. In many cases, consumers or other stakeholders will ask supplement merchants about certification. Nearly 25% of merchants who sell food or beverage products ask manufacturers to have one or more GFSI certifications today.
Boost Market Share
If you are competing with some other key companies in your market, having respected certifications can give you an edge. With SQF certification, the implications extend beyond basic manufacturing practices and show your supplement buyers these important aspects:
- Products will be of the highest quality and potency
- Supplies are handled and transported properly.
- Manufacturing standards are high and continuously monitored.
How SQF Certification Works
When a manufacturer wants to attain certification, the first step is to review the codes and guidance documents.
Preparation and Certification Steps
After a company learns what is required and makes changes to prepare for the audit, these are the steps that take place:
- An entity registers with the SQFI database and designates a practitioner.
- The petitioning entity designs, documents and executes the correct processes and systems.
- The petitioning entity must train a team to handle internal audits.
- The petitioning entity must plan the prescribed meetings, audits and reviews.
- The petitioning entity must engage in HACCP team meetings.
- If corrections and improvements are required in the petitioning entity’s systems, they must be executed.
- The petitioning entity must choose SQF from the certification body list.
- The petitioning entity schedules its SQF audit.
- During the audit, the SQF Institute identifies any issues.
- If any identified issues are remedied and verified, certification is granted.
How the SQF Institute Handles Problems
During the certification audit and the continuing audits, issues may be identified. These include the following:
- A minor nonconformity must be remedied within 30 days.
- A major nonconformity must be remedied within 14 days.
- A critical nonconformity results in audit failure or certification loss.
A minor nonconformity is something that does not indicate a bad system element or a serious food safety risk. However, a major nonconformity is one that could pose a serious food risk or a serious system risk.
If there is a critical nonconformity, a major loss of control at a crucial production point is evident. In relation to system management, it could indicate a serious product safety risk or falsified documentation.
Maintaining Certification and Audit Grades
Recertification audits are performed. If a manufacturer has good audit scores, the recertification is only once per year. However, surveillance will be conducted halfway through the year if the manufacturer receives a poorer grade. These are the potential scores for an audit:
- E indicates excellent performance.
- G indicates good performance.
- C means that the manufacturer is in compliance.
- F means that the manufacturer failed to comply.
Why Choose Us for SQF Supplement Manufacturing?
If you are looking for SQF-compliant facilities in the United States, we are happy to serve you. These are some of the benefits of working with us:
- A dedicated account executive is assigned to you.
- As our name indicates, our customer service practices are superior.
- With access to 95% of containment packaging options and delivery forms, we give you unrivaled versatility and flexibility.
- We can handle easy or difficult research and development, formulation, flavoring and other tasks for you.
These are some of the reasons why we are chosen by all sizes of entities, including many respected Fortune 500 companies. When you have us manufacture your private-label supplements, we can also provide you with safety reports, testing reports and other important documentation. To discuss your SQF-compliant manufacturing needs, please contact us.