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Food Safety Manual vs Plan vs SOPs vs Policies vs Pre-requisites


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#1 HNG

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:16 PM

I'm new to this forum and new to SQF, am trying to upgrade to SQF at a facility that has an existing HACCP Program. Getting overwelmed by the different layers of documentation. Is the "Food Safety Plan" different from the "Food Safety Manual" and what about the "policy manual" refered to in 2.1.4.1? Do the Pre-requisites stand alone separate from these, or should they be part of it. Do the SOPs and Policies form part of the Food Safety Manual itself, or do you put them within your Pre-requisite programs? A lot of the documents are in place already, but how to organize it all DOES ANYONE HAVE A WORKABLE OUTLINE FOR THE ENTIRE STRUCTURE? Many thanks!



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#2 esquef

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 07:55 PM

HNG,

The Food Safety Plan (2.4.3.1) is basically what SQF calls a HACCP program and the Food Safety Manual would be the plan(s) in binder form. You can have all of you HACCP/Food Safety Plan in electronic form, which makes sense from a document control point of view in my opinion.

The Policy Manual referenced in 2.1.4.1 (Management Review) is really just a summary of your company's Food Safety Management System and includes the scope of the system, your Management Policy Statement (2.1.1.2), your org.chart. There are some good discussions and examples here at IFSQN (do a search). This manual doesn't have to be very detailed; it's just an overview of your FSMS.

As far as a "workable outline for the entire structure", I think you'll have some problems here. Every company is unique with respect to the development of a functional GFSI system whether it's SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000.... A lot depends on how your pre-requisite and HACCP systems are built since SQF builds on top of these.

Have you had any SQF Practitioner training? It's not a requirement but I think most here would very highly recommend it. You can take on-line training, but I suggest that you sign up for a group training session so you can go through some exercises with your group of trainees, plus you can ask the instructor(s) questions directly and get immediate responses.

Regards,
esquef



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#3 HNG

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 08:36 PM

Hi Esquef,

Thanks very much for the help! One more question though is the "Food Safety Manual" referenced in 2.1.3-2 the same as the "Policy Manual" you described above, or is that yet another document?


Yes I already took the SQF Practitioners course but somehow still not clear on some things, I wish it had been one week instead of just 2 days!



Cheers,



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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:04 PM

Dear HNG,

With respect to overall structure, I predict that all the FSMS standards are effectively reliant on a core HACCP system (eg Codex and/ or NACMCF based) plus a MS core relatable to ISO9000 series. Items such as Prerequisite SOPs are sub-units within this overall scheme.

One implementation option is to expand from a classic ISO 9001 structure where the so-called “quality” (policy) manual translates to the complete FSMS standard of interest and the set of “quality” procedures is enlarged to take in all the safety aspects, eg HACCP, as xlinked from the “quality” manual. This can result in a series of xlinked manuals. People who are already certified to ISO 9000 and HACCP may like such a concept.

Alternatively one can create a structure directly aligned to the standard and score (invisible) auditor-friendly points. I expect this approach is what most consultants adopt.

IMEX the choice of structure is invariably yours.

Currently, it looks like you are more confused by the internal usage/compatibility/accuracy of SQF wording. Sadly this type of query is common to every standard and often demands a secondary index. Offhand I would guess that SQF is one of the worst offenders in this respect unless they hv improved their text from ver6. :smile: In compensation, they do offer a rare, free "guidance" document although its content can apparently be simply over-ridden in cases of "disagreement" to the official code which can introduce an element of confusion.

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#5 esquef

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:22 PM

Hi Esquef,

Thanks very much for the help! One more question though is the "Food Safety Manual" referenced in 2.1.3-2 the same as the "Policy Manual" you described above, or is that yet another document?


Yes I already took the SQF Practitioners course but somehow still not clear on some things, I wish it had been one week instead of just 2 days!



Cheers,


No, they're not the same. As I posted earlier the Food Safety Manual is basically your company's HACCP plan (as Charles pointed out it's generally based on the Codex Alimentarius and/ or NACMCF guidelines/principles). The Policy Manual is a brief overview of your Foos Safety Management System (i.e. you SQF system).

Some links to related IFSQN theads:

http://www.ifsqn.com...h__1#entry42794


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http://www.ifsqn.com...h__1#entry38590

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#6 George @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 11:20 AM

It is interesting to note that the SQF, like BRC, IFS,FSSC 22000 and others have been assessed against the GFSI Standard and all conform to that documents idea of what a food safety management system is. Yet we know that these standards can vary in regard to the terms used to describe the same thing. They also vary in style and structure. All require you to document various 'plans', 'programs', 'policies', 'procedures', 'sop's' etc, etc.

My first bit of advice is do not get too stressed about the 'right' way of doing this, because there is no right or wrong way. There is the best and most efficient way for you and your company to do it and this should be your focus.You need to ensure that where the Standard calls for something to be document you have in place a document that addresses it regardless of where it might live in your folders.

A food safety management system, regardless of whether it is for the SQF, BRC,customer or anyone else is made up of a number of 'Pillars'. These are listed below in the hierarchy of their position

1. Policies: Mentioned throughout the standards and are high level documents developed by senior management.

2. HACCP: This is intended to focus on the identification and control of significant hazards relating to the process. It needs to follow certain principles and steps and should be documented.

3. Management Systems: These are the high level procedures relating to management’s control and need to improve food safety and including customer complaints, internal auditing etc. Again these need to be document.

4. Pre-requisite Programs (PRP’s): These are the basic control programs required to produce safe food. Without these you will struggle to produce safe and legal food no matter how good your HACCP system is. Each program should be document in terms of risk assessment, responsibility, methodology,specification, corrective action and records. Each GFSI standard clearly defines the PRP’s that are required and they can cover both general and less significant hazards.

5. Standard Operating Procedures: Define the 'shop floor'procedures and requirements.

6. Specification: For all raw materials, final products,services etc.

7. Records: To prove the system is operating.

Again, how you organize these is not the important point.That you have them and in a way is workable for you is. Depending on the complexity of your operation you can typically organise you system into a HACCP binder with you HACCP plans and supporting documentation, another binder containing your policies, management and PRP's, another with SOP's and so on. The fewer the better. I have seen companies that can organize all these in to one (large) binder.

So - dont be overwhelmed. Just have the documents in place that are required by the standard and in time you will work out the best way to organize them. Good luck...

George

 



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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 03:11 PM

Dear George,

i wonder if anyone has ever published an appraisal of significant divergences between GFSI and individual standards therein. My thought process was triggered slightly by the continuing debates over SQF's viewpoint on validation plus their intriguing introduction of a "practitioner".
I guess it just comes down to a question of how much flexibility is tolerable, similar to hazard analysis / iso 22000 style. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 scole

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 12:38 AM

I have had to step into the SQF Practitioner role rather suddenly and have 'inherited' the existing manuals.  This thread is helpful because I have been questioning why we seem to repeat everything umpteen times!  For example, If we already have an SSOP why do we have another one in the SQF manual.  Am I being naive that we just need to make or PreReq's, HACCP and Quality Plan robust enough to meet the SQF standard? 



#9 Simon

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 05:03 PM


 

Am I being naive that we just need to make or PreReq's, HACCP and Quality Plan robust enough to meet the SQF standard? 

 

No I don't think so. :smile:


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#10 Cathy

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 06:16 PM

I've worked with a lot of companies on SQF.  The code requires a manual but does not define what that is. Therefore - I recommend you define it.  I recommend one small document of about 12 pages that summarizes your entire system.  This is the 'manual' and in it  you state what is needed or reference where to find it.  If you have multiple copies of anything it is best to get rid of them and simplify your life.  


Cathy Crawford, HACCP Consulting Group
http://haccpcg.com/

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