The new Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code Edition 8 became effective on January 2, 2018 and listed some significant changes, including new programs and revised requirements for existing programs. One notable change is that companies formerly SQF Level 2 and 3 are now REQUIRED to participate in an annual proficiency program.
What is proficiency you may ask? Proficiency (itself) is the act or state of being proficient, competent or skilled in a task or assignment; therefore, Proficiency Testing (PT) in our words is the evaluation of participant’s performance against pre-established criteria by means of interlaboratory comparison. This cross-check program help give you the tools to know just how well your team is performing.
Cherney works with a large variety of customers of many shapes and sizes, not all of them have the same proactive focus that we do. While we hope that proficiency testing is already part of your verification process, we are realistic in knowing that for some, it may not be and that this will be an important change. As stated in section 18.104.22.168 of the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing Edition 8, “On-site personnel that conduct environmental or product testing shall participate in an applicable proficiency testing program at least annually to ensure accuracy of results.” http://www.sqfi.com/documents/
Although SQF doesn’t specifically state the type of program required to be in compliance, its valuable to understand different proficiency program providers and whether or not they hold ISO 17043 accreditation (Accreditation for Proficiency Testing Providers). Just as ISO 17025 (General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accreditation is imperative when choosing a contract lab, ISO 17043 accreditation increases the quality level of the proficiency provider. With over a 25-year history of providing proficiency testing to the food industry and holding ISO 17043 accreditation, Cherney’s programs provide you a high quality option to meet the new SQF requirement. While many of our programs have already started for 2018, there is still time to join any of our programs to meet the new SQF requirements. All of our programs can be found on our website or by clicking the button below.
We are in the business of providing partnership and those we partner with support. SQF certification requires staying compliant with all current changes. Being found in non-conformance by a customer will likely lead to potential problems and possible loss of business; this is a preventable situation.
If you are prepared for edition 8 - great! If not - look for further than requesting more information on our proficiency programs with pricing designed to meet the SQF annual compliance requirement. Enhancing your food safety and quality systems reduces your risk for recalls or foodborne illness outbreaks. Compliance in itself may just be a requirement, but embracing the model of preparedness helps to ensure consistency in producing safe quality food for everyone. Can you confidently hit the target?