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SQF Process

SQF Pre-Audit Process

Application for Certification

A copy of the application can be found HERE. ALL information requested in the application must be provided to ensure the Scope of Certification is clearly defined.

Completion of the Client Packet and Proposal for Services

At this step in the process we negotiate payment terms and provide information and agree to pricing. Also at this step the client agrees to abide by the Certification Rules. These rules can be found HERE and will also be provided with the proposal for services.

Define the Scope of Certification

Only products and processes defined in the scope can be sold as being certified under the SQF scheme. The scope of certification is listed on the certification and on the SQF Website so it is important that the scope be clearly defined and consistent with the products the client wishes to be audited.After the Application for Certification is received FSNS C&A personnel will develop a tentative scope based on the information provided within the application. A Scope Proposal Form is sent to the client for review, Once the scope is agreed upon the client will sign the proposal form.

Audit Plan and Communication with the Auditor

Once the Scope of Certification is defined a qualified auditor will be assigned to the client and tentative Audit Plan will be developed and sent to the client. The Audit Plan will include the auditor information, start times and a tentative schedule of events.The auditor will be in contact with the client prior to the audit date to answer any questions about the audit process.

SQF Audit Process

Opening Meeting

The audit objectives and schedule will be discussed during the opening meeting. General information regarding the facility and company will also be discussed. The senior most operations person should attend the opening meeting.

Conducting the Audit

Audit will be conducted consistent with the requirements detailed in the SQF Code, 7th edition. Time required for the audit will is based on the size and complexity of the facility. Typically between 16 – 24 hours.

Closing Meeting

All non-conformities will be discussed during the closing meeting. Any questions regarding non-conformities will be addressed and, if necessary, the appeals process will be explained to the client. The protocol for completing the corrective action plan and submitting corrective actions will also be discussed.

Preliminary Report

Within 10 days of the audit a preliminary report will be provided to the client for review. At this time further instructions will be provided which outline the process for providing corrective actions for review.

Corrective Action Submission

All non-conformities must be corrected and evidence demonstrating that the corrective action has been implemented must be submitted to FSNS C&A within 25 days of the audit for minor non-conformities and 10 days for major non-conformities. CAs undergo a dual review by qualified FSNS C&A personnel. All information provided by the client will be kept confidential. Please note that in the event of a C grade being achieved an on-site verification of corrective actions must be completed AND corrective action evidence must be provided electronically for the dual review process within 30 days of the audit date.

SQF Post-Audit Process

Final Report

Once all corrective actions have been reviewed and accepted the certification decision is made. All certification requirements must be reviewed and verified prior to the certification decision. Once the review and verification process is complete a final report with the corrective action plan will be sent to the client and posted to the SQF database. Per SQF requirements the final report will be sent to the client no later than 45 days from the audit date.CertificateAlong with the final report a certificate will be issued to the client provided that the client meets the minimum required for certification as defined by SQF. The certificate includes the issue date, re-audit due date, and expiry date. It is the responsibility of the client to schedule the audit prior to the ‘Audit Due Date’ listed on the certificate.

Certificate

Along with the final report a certificate will be issued to the client provided that the client meets the minimum required for certification as defined by SQF. The certificate includes the issue date, re-audit due date, and expiry date. It is the responsibility of the client to schedule the audit prior to the ‘Audit Due Date’ listed on the certificate.

Re-certification Audit

BRC requires that the re-certification audit date is scheduled within a 30 day window of the audit due date. Clients receiving an E or G rating must undergo a re-certification audit on an annual basis with 30 days of the anniversary date of the initial audit. Facilities receiving a C grade must undergo a re-certification audit within 6 months of the certification audit. The 30 day timeframe also applies to clients receiving a C grade.

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