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2019’s Top 10 Version 8 SQF Non-conformities

Helen Timothy
September 14, 2020

On-Demand Webinar: “Solve Non-Conformances for Good

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On-Demand Webinar: “Solve Nonconformances for Good”

Join 2019 BRCGS Auditor of the Year, Nadia Narine, for insider tips on how to identify and solve non-conformances to improve future GFSI audit scores and minimize risk. You’ll also learn the requirements for conducting a root cause analysis and determine CAPAs.

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Today's consumers are more demanding than ever. They want detailed information about the food they consume and are savvy enough to find alternatives if a product doesn't meet their standards. The pressure to provide information trickles from the customer to the manufacturer down to their suppliers. The Safe Quality Food (SQF) program can help companies prove that their products are safe and trustworthy.

What is SQF?

The SQF certification program helps reduce assessment inconsistencies and costs of multiple assessment standards. What's more, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognizes the SQF Program and links primary production certification to food manufacturing, distribution, and agent/broker management certification. It's divided into modules that address each GFSI Industry Scope, providing a farm-to-fork solution and offers a certificate for each GFSI scope.

Each year the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) issues summary data on the year's performed audits. The report includes specifics detailing the auditees, certification bodies, industry recalls, and other insights. The list of top non-conformities is of note because it can serve as a guide to improve performance in the future. 

The top 10 non-conformities for 2019 were:

  1. - Food Fraud Program: The methods, responsibility, and criteria for identifying the site's vulnerability to food fraud shall be documented, implemented, and maintained. The food fraud vulnerability assessment shall include the site's susceptibility to product substitution, mislabeling, dilution, and counterfeiting, which may adversely impact food safety.

  2. - Environmental Monitoring: A risk-based environmental monitoring program shall be in place for all food and pet food manufacturing processes.

  3. - Cleaning and Sanitation: The methods and responsibility for the cleaning of the food handling and processing equipment and environment, storage areas, staff amenities, and toilet facilities shall be documented and implemented. Consideration shall be given to: 

    • What is to be cleaned

    • How it is to be cleaned

    • When it is to be cleaned

    • Who is responsible for the cleaning

    • Methods used to confirm the correct concentrations of detergents and sanitizers

    • The responsibility and methods used to verify the effectiveness of the cleaning and sanitation program

  4. - Food Safety Plan: The food safety plan shall be effectively implemented and maintained and outline the means by which the site controls and assures food safety of the products or product groups included in the scope of the SQF certification and their associated processes. More than one Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety plan may be required to cover all products included in the scope of certification.

  5. - Validation and Effectiveness: The methods, responsibility, and criteria for ensuring the effectiveness of all applicable elements of the SQF Program shall be documented and implemented. The methods applied shall ensure that: 

    • Good Manufacturing Practices are confirmed to ensure they achieve the required result

    • Critical food safety limits are validated, and re-validated annually

    • Changes to the processes or procedures are assessed to ensure controls are still effective

    • All applicable elements of the SQF Program are implemented and effective. 

  6. - Internal Audits and Inspections: The methods and responsibility for scheduling and conducting internal audits to verify the effectiveness of the SQF System shall be documented and implemented. Internal audits shall be conducted at least annually. The methods applied shall ensure: 

    • All applicable requirements of the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing are audited as per the SQF audit checklist or similar tool

    • Correction and corrective action of deficiencies identified during the internal audits are undertaken

    • Audit results are communicated to relevant management personnel and staff responsible for implementing and verifying corrective actions

  7. - Food Safety Plan Monitoring: The food safety team shall develop and document procedures to monitor Critical Care Points (CCPs) to ensure they remain within the established limits (refer to Monitoring procedures shall identify the personnel assigned to conduct testing, the sampling and test methods, and the test frequency.

  8. - Identified Pest Activity Risk: Identified pest activity shall not present a risk of contamination to food products, raw materials, or packaging. 

  9. - Maintenance Program: The methods and responsibility for the maintenance and repair of plant, equipment, and buildings shall be documented, planned, and implemented in a manner that minimizes the risk of product, packaging, or equipment contamination. 

  10. - Metal Detector Management: Metal detectors or other physical contaminant detection technologies shall be routinely monitored, validated, and verified for operational effectiveness. The equipment shall be designed to isolate defective product and indicate when it is rejected.

Check out our on-demand webinar, featuring 2019 BRCGS Auditor of the Year, Nadia Narine, show shared insider tips on how to identify and solve non-conformances to improve future GFSI audit scores and minimize risk.