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How long does Initial Certification take?


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chrijor

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 08:04 PM

Hello All,

 

I've recently taken a job at a plant not currently SQF certified but is wanting to get SQF level 3. I'm just trying to get a general idea of how long this process should take. Specifically I've been told two different scenarios regarding what you will need for the auditor. I've been told that the initial certification doesn't really require much documentation of your paperwork you are implementing, you just need to show that you WILL be doing it and where you WILL record it.  On the other hand I've heard that auditors want at least 2-3 months worth of your procedures/paperwork actually being done in the plant.  So in general after you write up your SQF plan can you start the audit with just that or do you need to implement the system and have a few months under your belt?



chrijor

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 08:08 PM

Sorry, I thought I was posting this under the SQF page.



kmk

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 07:23 PM

When we were building a new plant to replace one we were shutting down (it had current SQF certification) our certification body wanted at least 3 months of records for the new plant before they would audit it.  I was concerned because the switch over was initially to take place right about the time of our annual recertification but it ended up it was a month after, so we had 11 months of records for the next audit.  I have talked with several other producers in our industry and their certification body has also wanted at least 3 months of SQF records to audit the plant, when getting their initial certification.



pooled

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 07:39 PM

From my experience they tend to like 3 months worth of records to about a year (this was both for BRC & SQF), reasoning for this is that there is more likelihood of finding out something that did not work properly & was reviewed or changed. Demonstrating continuous improvement.



chrijor

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 08:36 PM

Thank you for the feedback!



CMHeywood

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 09:05 PM

The first part of a first time SQF audit is the desktop audit.  Your certification body (auditor) will ask for copies of all your procedures, policies, etc.  If you are missing any, you will be notified that you are not sufficiently in compliance.  Usually a month later is when the auditor comes in to do the site audit. 

 

The auditor will check to see that you have the missing documents.  He will then check your records to see that you are following the procedures and policies that you stated you have implemented.  They like to see about 3 months worth of records to show that you didn't just create the documents the night before.

 

If your current company has no program for cleanliness (such as AIB) or no program for quality (such as ISO 9000), then you are starting from scratch and it will take you 2-3 times longer than your management expects.  The timeline will be much longer if you are starting totally from scratch.  SQF Level 2 is food safety only.  SQF Level 3 adds quality program to the food safety program.

 

If you are the only one writing the policies, procedures, forms, etc. then my rule of thumb is 1 year minimum if you devote 80% - 100% of your time.

 

Your management needs to be aware that everyone, including themselves, will be involved in food safety on a weekly to daily basis.



Tony-C

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 04:33 AM

Hi chrijor,

 

As per some of the previous posts your whole system should be in place and be operating before your audit. A minimum of 3 months records would be required but bear in mind this means that you may have to accelerate your internal audit program which is quite difficult if you are rolling out new procedures and records during this period.

 

You say you are looking for level 3 and I would respectfully suggest that you take it in steps, gaining level 2 first (food safety) and once this is established adding the level 3 (quality) later.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony



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Posted 05 July 2016 - 10:04 PM

I absolutely agree with Tony on going Level 2 before Level 3 -- that's a gigantic undertaking right out the gate in the beginning.

 

As to the time it takes, there is a saying in SQF -- Say What You Do, Do What You Say and Prove It!   You'll need at minimum 3 months of implementation for an Auditor to even look at your documentation. We suggest to our clients 3-4 months, however you can begin implementation as soon as you begin putting your system documents together to cut the curve a little bit; thus by the time you are complete on let's say your Module 2 & 11 you'll already be into implementation.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant Retainer Subscriptions - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 




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