Here at BST, we have proudly held our SQF certification since September of 2020, and after moving into our brand new 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility at 10 Codfish Way, we have officially been re-certified as of September 2021. SQF certification stands for Safe Quality Food and is the only Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognized program that applies to the entire supply chain. From the second its caught, through transportation, and all the way onto a plate, SQF certification puts extensive procedures in place to guarantee that your food will be handled, processed, and transported in the safest possible manner. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way a lot of consumers think and shop, bringing sanitation very much to the forefront, and now more than ever consumers are looking for guarantees that the food they are eating is safe. With these changing trends in buying habits and consumer thinking, SQF keeps peace of mind that the product the consumer is buying is safe and high quality.
There are three levels to SQF certification, and Level one is food safety fundamentals. This is the most basic level of SQF and has the fewest requirements. Mainly, Level one is applicable to low-risk operations, does not require HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), and alone is not benchmarked by the GFSI. Level two is food safety code. Level two includes level one and adds HAACP approach to managing hazards and risks. Level two is comparable to NQA’s ISO22000 certification which is the international food safety standard for businesses within the food chain. The third and final level is quality. The SQF quality level also uses the HACCP method to identify and control threats to quality and addresses process controls. These process controls monitor product quality, identify deviations, and define corrections necessary to maintain top quality. Implementing these systems and receiving the certification is a time-consuming process and does not just happen overnight.
First things first, an SQF practitioner must be chosen to designate teams to design, document, and implement the required processes and food safety fundamentals. This practitioner will set up a project plan outlining goals, responsibilities, and a timeline as well as assemble teams and train them. Next all product documentation must be filed and a team of internal auditors within the company will schedule and perform audits to make sure the project plan is being implemented properly and adhered too. Upper management must perfect and streamline the implementation and processes, and then once in place, a certification audit is scheduled. In order to pass this final certification audit, systems must have been implemented effectively, there must be evidence that management is committed to maintain and always be improving upon the system, and all actions comply with regulatory, customer and SQF requirements. BST came out of our final audit and scored 96 out of a possible 100, passing our certification with flying colors.
SQF is the highest standard of food safety and operational management in the industry and allows us at Boston Sword and Tuna to supply the freshest, safest, highest quality seafood to each of our incredible customers.