CHICAGO – The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of the Food Marketing Institute, will require unannounced audits as part of its third-party inspection program.
The SQFI will include the new provision in the next revision of the SQF Code. SQF will become the first internationally accredited third-party inspection program to require unannounced audits. In a statement, Robert Garfield, senior vice president of SQFI said:
“SQFI’s unannounced audit protocol will be introduced in February 2014 and implemented in July 2014, and will require that one out of every three SQF audits will be unannounced.
“We made the decision to enhance the rigor of the SQFI program after consulting with numerous stakeholders. We understand that the food industry must respond to and meet the nation’s food safety challenges more rapidly and effectively, which requires a more nimble approach to our program.
“Although many stakeholders, such as governments and consumer organizations, recognize the efficacy of the SQFI food safety management program, unannounced audits will elevate the SQF Program to the next level by providing a standard that will prepare SQF-Certified suppliers to be audit-ready at any time. We believe that each facility must be prepared every day for an assessment.”