SQF code or the Safe Quality Food code is the set of rules that govern the standardization of products that are distributed to consumers by food suppliers for the sake of safety and quality management. The certification program in place is tailored towards maximized consumer protection and regulation of all related trading activities. Meeting product requirements like safety, trace and quality within cost estimates is thus ensured to enable both parties to have a fair trading platform.
This was developed in 1994 from a harmonized agreement to produce a program that when implemented would be applicable in food industry as this is one of the most important components of an economy and far more sensitive. Experts in food safety, quality management, food processing, food regulation, food retailing, agricultural production systems, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and food distribution came together and had a joint consensus to formulate these codes. Every participant in this industry is therefore strictly required to follow the rules and regulations.
In August 2003, the Food Marketing Institute acquired the rights to this program after which there was an establishment of the Institute Division to manage this program. The set standards meet the Global Food Safety Initiative due to the satisfaction of meeting the benchmark requirements. This has been incorporated by countries globally to govern the production and supply to industries.
The Technical Advisory Council is responsible for overseeing the necessary changes and makes reviews and recommendations. This must be in line with the contemporary requirements and expectations in the sector. Another important source of information to be used in decision making is the stakeholders who make comments on things that should be included; this makes their input very vital.
After the reviews have been made and the necessary amendments considered, there is a necessity for a date on which these changes are implemented and adjustments made. The official date for the making of amendments is the third anniversary date of a previous edition of the same document. This is usually done by the responsible panel that come together and make the amendments.
Situations may arise where an important amendment needs to be done before the three year amendment period passes. Is such a case, the amendment segment has to be included in the current edition as it may take too long to wait for a complete review cycle. This helps prevent loopholes in regulations which may lead to misuse of marketing rights.
Suppliers are required to make a prompt implementation of amendments within a period of six months of a posting of a new edition either on an official website or other media. A provision is given to all users to make a contribution by way of their views and changes that they want implemented. Address for delivery of such reviews is given to enable fast communication.
Knowledge of the SQF code is very important as it gives clear guidelines on the trade ethics that must be keenly followed by every participant in the industry. Failure to abide by these rules and regulations may call for strict legal action. The document has been scrutinized for any case of ambiguity to facilitate perfection, as it must be very comprehensive to cover every detail of this industry in an effort to cultivate healthy trading activities.