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Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code, Edition 9

It is vital that primary production and food processing companies, retailers, warehousing facilities, distributors and food packaging companies forming the food chain demonstrate the quality and safety of their products. This is why it is in the interest of these companies to obtain certification in this respect. The SQF (Safe Quality Food) Code certification meets the needs of the agri-food industry by allowing companies to obtain internationally recognized certification. The SQF Code guarantees that these companies have a proper and effective food safety system that ensures access to safe products to the public. The SQF certification by the BNQ confirms that the food safety plans of a company’s facilities have been implemented according to the HACCP method based on Codex. The BNQ also validates the company’s compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, verifies its safety and food quality systems and confirms their conformity with respect to food safety management.

The SQF program was developed in Australia in 1994. It has been administered by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) since 2003 and was approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in 2004. Certification bodies like the BNQ that certify companies according to this certification code must be licensed to do so.

In addition, for the SQF certification, the BNQ is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and is a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). Therefore, t certificates of companies certified SQF by the BNQ receive international recognition.


Certification services based on the requirements of SQF (Safe Quality Food) Code

The SQF Code, edition 9, applies to all certification, recertification and surveillance audits carried out after May 24th, 2021.

The main steps of a certification audit carried out by the BNQ according to the requirements of the SQF Code are:

1- Document review (one day on the premises or in the office, recommended, but not mandatory), only for the initial certification audit

2- Initial certification audit (on the premises)

3- Annual recertification audit on the premises (a three-year cycle recertification audit will be an unannounced audit)

Certification services based on the requirements of the SQF Quality Code

Companies wishing to obtain the BNQ certification based on the requirements of the SQF Code or to maintain their certification must first be certified according to the requirements of the SQF Code applying to their industry sector.

The certification audit based on the Code may be:

  • An extension of the existing certification or a combined recertification audit based on applicable requirements of the SQF Code;


  • A distinct audit carried out at any time during the year in which a company’s SQF Code certification is valid.