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New SQF practitioner – how to start with SQF level 3?

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#1 antoniojr45


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Posted 12 June 2018 - 06:51 PM



I join a company that needs to get SQF level 3. What do use guys recommend for me on how to start. This is a new environment for me an I don't want to fail.

#2 jdpaul


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Posted 12 June 2018 - 06:55 PM

For level 3 you will need to add a quality plan (QMS) in addition to your pre-reqs and HACCP plan

Edited by jdpaul, 12 June 2018 - 06:57 PM.

#3 Scampi



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Posted 12 June 2018 - 07:48 PM

A) review customer "quality" complaints from historical records


B) establish quality parameters that must be adhered too, including sensory if required/needed


C) understand factors affecting quality as it pertains to your product(s) and ways to mitigate them


D) memorize the SQF Quality Code!!!

Because we always have is never an appropriate response!

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#4 kmk


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Posted 13 June 2018 - 12:42 PM

Start at the beginning; start with becoming HACCP certified (if you're not already), take the SQF course and become an SQF Practitioner.


Then you need to take the code section by section and complete a gap analysis of what the plant has and what it's missing.  You can either do this yourself or hire a consultant to do it.  You can do it yourself by making a checklist of everything you need and then finding out what you have.


Then, you start writing, working with your team in having them look at everything to make sure you're actually doing what you say you're doing and then re-writing until you're all on the same page and you have everything in place that the code requires.


When you're all ready you can schedule your audit, whatever certification body you choose will complete a desk audit of all of your documents (regardless of level) and then let you know if you have corrections to make and then when they are on site to complete the site visit they will expect to see the corrections and they will visit the plant.


You certainly add in the quality to your first SQF audit, I have always been at level 3 and now it's called the Food Quality audit and is a separate audit.


The process takes a lot of time, if you have someone or several people to help that's great, but plan on doing a lot of writing.  Knowing your product and all the risks involved is very helpful, talk with other industry folks to help with that.  There might be an industry association you can reach out to for help or to get information.


Good Luck!

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#5 Sue Foxx

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 03:20 PM

The actual code can be a little daunting. I recommend looking into the "Guidance Documents". It has the actual code, what it means in laymans terms, what you need to do to fill the element requirements, and what the auditor will be looking for.

#6 Charles.C


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Posted 13 June 2018 - 04:23 PM



I join a company that needs to get SQF level 3. What do use guys recommend for me on how to start. This is a new environment for me an I don't want to fail.


I am not a SQF user but (if no changes in SQF8) I anticipate you will need to offer a completed Level 2 response  in order to be audited for level 3. ( Lvl2 [now] = SQF Manufacturing Code).

Kind Regards,



#7 SQFconsultant



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Posted 14 June 2018 - 03:03 PM

Charles, yes - 2 first, 3 next.

Kind regards,


Glenn Oster
GOC GROUP / +1.800.793.7042 / Food - Food Packaging - Food Storage/DC

SQF, BRC & IFS System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants

Serving Small-to-Mid-Size Businesses | International Cross-Border C-CUR Acceptance

Internal Auditor Training | eConsultant | SQF, BRC & IFS Pre-Development or Pre-Audit GAP

http://www.GlennOsterConsulting.com  -- 



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