I'm an SQF Practitioner. I have been a food safety auditor for both AIB and C&T before ithey went to NSF. I also was a food safety consultant and auditor in my own business. Before becoming an auditor I was in the food industry in operations and quality as well as an owner operator of a canning plant. That was almost 20 years of experience.
To Simon's remark I have seen good and bad audits. I have seen announced and unannounced audits. The auditor to audit one seafood plant I was the QA manager of was assign the duty because of his closeness to the plant not his expertise in seafood. His background was in dary plants for 10 years.
We could be digging the food industry a bigger hole of credibility if the GFSI auditors are not diligent in their duties to record theprocess they are to audit.
I have helped 3 plants get to level 2 or 3 in SQF and if there is any issue it is the clarification on allergens, process, and Hazard Analysis. I seem to be explaining these items in the previous audits.
I have found mentors and confidants in the food industry to assist me. I have found this forum a good source of information when I lack it or a way to confirm my ideas. GFSI was to be the all encompassing audit framework without having additional 2nd and 3rd party audits in a year. In one position I had 9 audits in a year of which I paid for. I hope we do not go back to that program.