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SQF Practitioner Competence

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Adam Riggs

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 03:12 PM

Hello everyone,


  We're in the process of certifying our other facilities but the practitioners at some of the sites are still learning the program and they really can't answer enough of the auditor's questions and could possibly be deemed incompetent to manage the program. The SQF practitioner shall:

i. Be employed by the supplier as a company employee on a full-time basis;

ii. Hold a position of responsibility in relation to the management of the supplier’s SQF System;

iii. Have completed a HACCP training course;

iv. Be competent to implement and maintain HACCP based food safety plans; and

v. Have an understanding of the SQF Code level 2 and the requirements to implement and maintain SQF System relevant to the supplier scope of certification.


  Has anyone ever heard of a site failing an audit due to an incompetent SQF Practitioner?


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Posted 04 November 2016 - 07:50 PM

Hi Adam. 


I've never heard of a site failing due to a Practitioner being labeled "incompetent." 

Have you read the guidance documentation on the requirement? If not, here is the link: http://www.sqfi.com/...ce-Document.pdf


Also, from the SQFI website http://www.sqfi.com/...f/faq/sqf-code/


As noted, there are no specific requirements for training (other than HACCP) or testing. The practitioner must demonstrate knowledge of the current version of the SQF Code. Some choose to do this by either successfully completing an Implementing SQF Systems training course, or by successfully completing an Implementing SQF Systems examination. Additionally, the practitioner may adequately demonstrate knowledge of the Code by having an effectively-implemented SQF System or appropriately address questions posed by the auditor at the time of the certification audit.

Additionally, note that there is no requirement to register or “certify” as a practitioner. A person in the role of a practitioner must meet the requirements of and of the SQF Code. Therefore there is no need to “re-register” or “recertify,” nor is there a need to retake either the Implementing SQF Systems course or the Implementing SQF System examination if already successfully completed.


In my opinion, I would say a HACCP course completion certificate would help prove part iv. For part v, if you are truly worried about it, I'd suggest having them attend an SQF Systems training course, if at all possible. I have taken a few training courses and found them extremely helpful in understanding the code. It would also help to have them read the implementation guides for the modules their facility falls under. The implementation guides are very good at helping interpret the SQF code and how to conform to its standards.


One thing I did when I started was make a spreadsheet listing each clause of the SQF code (modules 2& 13 for food packaging). Then I had a column listing what policies/procedures/work instructions we had in place associated with that clause. I added another column for associated paperwork/check sheets/product tracking system information. It really helped me understand the code, as I knew what to look for as "evidence" to prove that we conform to the code. I'll admit it was easier for me, since we were already SQF certified when I started, but it still may be helpful for your practitioners.


I hope this helps! 


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Posted 05 November 2016 - 04:58 PM

Yes, I have - but it was a contributing factor to the failure as there were other issues and of course if the Practitioner gets marked off, it will have a domino effect.  I am happy to say that we have never had a client where the Practitioner was downgraded on an audit.  Its all in the preparation and an SQF Practitioner should never find themselves in the position of not be being fully up to speed on everything.

All the Best,


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Without Prejudice,

Glenn Oster.









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