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Advice needed: How do I choose a Certification Body (SQF)?

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#1 teaks

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 04:56 PM

I think we are going to finally take the plunge and seek SQF certification.

I'm looking for advice on questions to ask potential certification bodies.  What tips have you?

 

And if you have a CB you love and would recommend -  tell me why!

 

Many thanks!



#2 Simon

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 07:01 PM

First and foremost you must choose a Certification Body licensed by SQF, which means they are accredited to ISO 17065:2012 and meet all of the SQF criteria for certification bodies.  You can find licensed certification bodies here: http://www.sqfi.com/...ryPublic/search

 

After that it's a free market, so price will come into it, but probably of most importance is the quality of the auditors.  It is vital that the certification body has auditors that are experienced in your precise segment of the food industry who are familiar with your products and processes.  I would ask for resumes from their auditors to check this.

 

Apart from these general tips I cannot give you real life advice as I am not an SQF user.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#3 teaks

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 02:30 PM

Simon,

 

Thank you -- I would not thought to have asked for auditor resumes but makes complete sense.  We are certified organic, and the certifying agency uses contracted auditors.  I've found great variation in both the knowledge and dedication/motivation of the auditors sent.  AIB, who has its own staff, seems much more consistent. Of the SQF CBs I've spoken with, they all assure me that their contracted auditors must meet certain standards, but I'm still wary.....



#4 Simon

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 02:46 PM

I’m not sure you will be able to see motivation or common sense (both of which are prerequisites qualities of an FSMS auditor) from a resume, but at least you will have a view of their competence.  If you have experience with AIB and they use in-house auditors then that may be the way to go.

Hopefully some other members will ‘chime in’ with their experience.

Regards,
Simon


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Simon Timperley
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Need food safety advice?
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We could make a huge list of rules, terms and conditions, but you probably wouldn’t read them.

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#5 RMAV

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 05:10 PM

This doesn't really answer your question but just an opinion:  you'll find a variety of auditors within any CB even AIB (remember PCA).  Some auditors are fairly easy in that they are not detail-oriented.  They miss a lot.  Some auditors are benevolently arrogant and with the rhetoric of a great orator bestow upon you their vast knowledge and expertise.  They tend to ask irrelevant, esoteric questions.  They miss a lot too.  Even as they are annoying, remember the more they talk the less they audit.  Then there's the QA police.  That's when you're screwed.  They are arrogant, detail-oriented, and assume everything you tell them is a lie.

 

My favorite auditors are detail-oriented, interested in continuous improvement, have an attitude of working *with* you, and understand the real world.



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#6 Simon

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 05:56 PM

Nice advice RMAV.


Best Regards,

Simon Timperley
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Need food safety advice?
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The IFSQN is a helpful network of volunteers providing answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts on food safety management systems and a wide range of food safety topics.

 
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#7 teaks

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 01:50 PM

RMAV,

 

Sounds like you could write a book! 



#8 RMAV

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 02:30 PM

RMAV,

 

Sounds like you could write a book! 

I have to admit, I sound more seasoned than I am.  Would you mind sharing who you selected and why?



#9 pgraham

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 05:28 PM

In SQF the auditor requirement was to have some degree of experience.  I found in our field of packaging there are few and far between auditors from our industry that are GFSI certified auditors.  Just because someone used packaging for example in a previous job of thiers or has audited 2 "packaging" facilities does not provide them with sufficient skill sets to be an effective auditor and they get stuck in the muck of pre conceived bias that they feeel are important which in many cases have no bearing. We have had some absilute superior auditors which I have a world of high praise for professionally and some who frankly need a career change and in the long run likely wont last long.

 

The CV/resume is very important and with the push to expand the GFSI certification in all facets of the world wide food industry there was a corresponding need to get auditors out onto the road. 



#10 Charles.C

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 10:46 AM

In SQF the auditor requirement was to have some degree of experience.  I found in our field of packaging there are few and far between auditors from our industry that are GFSI certified auditors.  Just because someone used packaging for example in a previous job of thiers or has audited 2 "packaging" facilities does not provide them with sufficient skill sets to be an effective auditor and they get stuck in the muck of pre conceived bias that they feeel are important which in many cases have no bearing. We have had some absilute superior auditors which I have a world of high praise for professionally and some who frankly need a career change and in the long run likely wont last long.

 

The CV/resume is very important and with the push to expand the GFSI certification in all facets of the world wide food industry there was a corresponding need to get auditors out onto the road. 

 

Hi pgraham,

 

It is possible that someone has been "having you on".

 

I think the number of genuine  GFSI certified auditors is not very few. It is Nil.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#11 SQFconsultant

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 11:23 PM

We recommend that our SQF Consulting clients use Perry Johnson Registers.

Their SQF Registered Auditors are consustant, well trained via on-going training sessions, fair but firm in their approach.

You can find a full list of CBs on the www.sqfi.com website.


Warm regards,
 
 
Glenn Oster
 
 
Glenn Oster Consulting / 800-793-7092 / Serving the Earth
SQF, IFS & BRC System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultant

Internal Auditor Training/eConsultant/CB/SQF-GAP/PCQI OnlineTraining

GOC Blog / Will Work for Food / Restaurant Consulting

 

www.GlennOsterConsulting.com

 

 


#12 cblind

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 02:56 PM

Hi all

We are a relatively small company, >100, employees and we make a low risk food safety product, coffee. Is there a certification body anyone would recommend?



#13 SQFconsultant

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:54 PM

Stop by www.sqfi.com for current look up of auditing companies.

Glenn Oster


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#14 mgourley

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:47 AM

Hi all

We are a relatively small company, >100, employees and we make a low risk food safety product, coffee. Is there a certification body anyone would recommend?

FSSC22000

Marshall



#15 chelsey4pcnluv

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Posted 06 February 2020 - 12:16 AM

We are seeking new certification bodies for SQF and I am asking for advice regarding auditor experience. I have requested resumes and price is somewhat of a factor but I would like to get some advice or experience because finding reviews of certification bodies online is slim to none. We are looking at CICS and Bureau Veritas any advice will be appreciated.



#16 jperri

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Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:06 PM

We use NSF. (Keep in mind, my opinion is solely based on 1 year experience).

 

Pros: Everyone (including the auditor) that I have encountered so far from NSF were very nice, helpful and easy to work with. We used a consultant from NSF who was very good to have especially for us, new to SQF. It really gave us the guidance and confidence we needed to successfully pass our first audit.

 

Cons: They may be expensive (depending on your budget). We noticed some discrepancies between our consultant and auditor in what they interpreted as something being a non-conformance.

 

IMO it is a bit of a gamble anywhere you choose. As every auditor is different even within the same CB. You could try googling CB reviews if those are available? Research the company and get a feel for how they operate. If possible, get quotes and compare pricing. 

 

Good luck!

 

 

Jenna :)


Edited by jperri, 06 February 2020 - 01:18 PM.


#17 SQFconsultant

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Posted 06 February 2020 - 09:03 PM

I was an SQF Auditor and I did employed work for one company and contract work for several companies and now as a long time SQF Consultant we recommend certain companies and not others as we've been on both sides of the table.

 

I've sat in on a lot audits as a consultant and have seen the great, good, so-so and downright terrible auditors.

 

One thing for me that has always been a good "tell" is - does the CB pay the Auditor well or poorly, do they pay on time, do they let them stay in good hotels, eat good food - all in all not treat them badly.

 

In addition does the CB have a good support staff at the home office and do they have on-going training sessions/calibration sessions with their Auditors.

 

All of that boils down to either a good or bad Auditor and almost always I've been right on the money (no pun intended) for selecting good CB's.

 

Currently we suggest our clients use WQS that is based in Charlotte, NC


Warm regards,
 
 
Glenn Oster
 
 
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www.GlennOsterConsulting.com

 

 






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