Bar Harbor Foods in Pre-Assessment for SQF Certification

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August 3, 2010

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the 2009 data, which highlights the burden of food borne illnesses in the United States. In good news, they report that overall rates of infections from food borne pathogens have significantly declined since the 1996-1998 time frame. For example, the rate of E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria infections have declined 41% and 26%, respectively. Without doubt, the implemen- tation of food safety measures by the food industry has been a major contributing factor to this decline. However, we seem to have reached a plateau of sorts, and the CDC concludes that, “To reduce the incidence of food borne infections further, multifaceted approaches involving public health, regulatory agencies, industry, and consumers are required.” Certainly this is part of the universal message. Other areas where agreement is universal, as evidenced by the position of the World Health Organization, include a focus on prevention, application of risk management systems and relying on science as the basis for measurable standards. For those of us in the food industry, this approach is the foundation of our existence and the moti- vation to create new programs to ensure a safer food supply.

As we collectively set measureable standards, implement risk management systems and monitor the effectiveness of such programs, the value of third-party certification schemes such as the SQF Institute becomes evident. The food industry is not just on board with the universal message about a safer food supply – we are making it a reality.

Exploring the Realities of Third-Party Certification:

Food recalls and growing consumer interest in the production and distribution of their food are the reality. To safeguard the food supply and keep consumers at ease, implementing proper food safety protocols is of paramount importance for producers, suppliers and retailers. Public discussions about the food manufacturing and distribution process have become contributing factors to recent expansions of third-party certification programs supplied by organiza- tions such as the SQF Institute.

While many companies continue to turn to SQF Institute to help maximize and enhance their safety standards, there are some misperceptions regarding the role and importance of third-party certification. The following article will explore the realities of SQF Institute and its certification process.

What is third-party certification?

Third-party certification is a verification process for a food safety system through an objectively operated standard. The SQF Institute’s certification bodies utilize food safety guidelines to monitor and evaluate how a supplier’s products are processed, prepared and handled throughout the manufacturing and retail process. The SQF Institute incorporates the latest science, research and industry best practices in their certification program and meets all the standards required by domestic and international food safety agencies and the Global Food Safety Initiative.

What distinguishes the SQF Institute from other certification organizations?

The SQF Institute addresses the needs of an emerging market of companies seeking verifiable certifications rather than traditional food safety audits. This type of certification program is a great tool for suppliers and provides quality information buyers can reference to make educated purchasing decisions. The SQF accreditation process and product quality certification system are unique to other schemes and offer added insight into the auditing process for suppliers, certification bodies and buyers. SQF users find that implementing the SQF system provides a positive return on invest- ment in the food safety and food quality certification process.

Additionally, the SQF Institute systems benefit the entire food supply chain as they provide management solutions for primary producers, manufacturers and distributors. The organization is proud to remain distinguished from its competitors through its commitment to training well-qualified auditors, practitioners and consultants who uphold the standards and integrity of the SQF Institute systems and process.


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Bar Harbor Foods ·1112 Cutler Road, Whiting, Maine 04691 USA·207-259-3341