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Posted 03 December 2018 - 04:24 PM

Hi All,


I am new to IFSQN, my name is Donna and i work for a food packaging manufacturer. I do have prior experience with food processing and manufacturing and SQF standards.We are making strides to implement SQF standards in the packaging facility. Some of the requirements are new to the industry and raise a lot of eyebrows of my upper management because of the significant cost of all changes required. I understand the SQF standards but would like to hear opinions of others so i can confidently recommend changes needed made to our facility.Below is the code for lunch rooms, is specifies separate lunch room facilities. Separate to me means separate by walls and doors and closed off from production completely. Management is trying to fight this saying that the code doesn't necessarily say the walls have to be all the way to the ceiling it could be 3/4 and it doesn't have to have a door separating it because the code is not specific enough. Separate lunch room facilities shall be provided away from packaging manufacturing, handling or storage areas. Lunch rooms shall be kept clean and tidy and free from waste materials and pests. 


 If anyone can offer advise in this matter I would greatly appreciate it !







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Posted 03 December 2018 - 06:34 PM

Here is the guidance on that element for food manufacturing (there  is no guidance available as yet for packaging). there is likely very little difference between the modules


11.3.10 Implementation Guidance

What does it mean?

Employees, contractors and visitors are not permitted to eat or drink in food handling areas (refer to Designated lunch rooms must therefore be available for staff to take breaks and eat meals.

These areas must be physically separated from food handling areas. Without a door and walls how are they going to keep the lunchroom physically separate from the plant? and i would caution about just building a box........if there is a flat ceiling above it, it creates a place for dust and debris to gather contaminating your food contact packaigng

What do I have to do? The supplier may provide additional outdoor lunchroom facilities (e.g., picnic tables) where they do not pose a dust or pest hazard to the processing area of the site. Covered facilities and sealed paths are one way to address these hazards. Where hazards presented by such facilities are minimal, the supplier may employ alternative controls such as routine cleaning of tables and steps to minimize dust on non-sealed paths. Foot baths also provide another means to ensure that foot traffic does not bring dust or other contaminants into the processing area, if practical to do so. Each site shall be equipped with a ventilated and well-lit lunch/break room for employees. The room must be equipped with a sink serviced with hot and cold potable water, a refrigerator and a microwave. The area must be kept clean.



11.3.10 Auditing Guidance


This element will be audited as part of each site audit through observation and interviews with operational staff.

Evidence may include:  Separate lunch facilities are provided;  Lunch room facilities are adequate for the number of staff;  Lunch facilities are separated from processing, product storage or handling areas;  Lunch room facilities are properly ventilated;  Lunch room facilities are well lit;  Lunch room facilities include a sink with hot and cold running water;  Lunch room facilities are clean and tidy;  Proper heating or cooling facilities are provided in lunch facilities;  Hand wash signage is available at the exit of the lunch facilities;  Hand wash signage at the exit of lunch facilities is in appropriate languages.


I would email SQFI and ask them for packaging guidance........if management is saying the code isn't specific enough you're in for a bumpy ride

Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs

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Gerard H.

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:57 AM

Dear Donna,


There has been a decision to go for SQF certification. That will have an impact on the company (layout, way of working and financially*). 


* Financially - Please note, that there are costs linked to a certificate, but … there are also benefits, and it looks like that it has been forgotten here above. The accountancy, as well as the management need to follow the consequences of the decision. 


They have also decided, that it is you, who will implement the SQF standard. I guess, because of your knowledge and experience. Please, don't forget that you are the advisor and the authority in the company, when it comes to the interpretation and the practical implementation of the SQF standard. There needs to be mutual respect during the implementation phase. Furthermore, it's better to implement the requirements directly in a good way, otherwise you will need to redo everything after a few years.


As this is all new for your company, you could do the following things:

  • Gather information, like you are doing here
  • Invite people from companies, who already implemented the SQF standard in similar situations (you let them visit your plant and ask them for advice on such "burning" topics)
  • Organize a visit with the management in another - already SQF certified - company
  • Gather the topics, which require investments and present them to the management and make a project plan for the next years, including the cost aspects. That allows the company to create a vision and to adapt the financial plan
  • Apply a multidisciplinary approach, including key staff. You will create support and at the same time you will obtain creative ideas to implement the SQF standard in a cost effective way

I think the creation of support and understanding are very important in this case. Of course, I wish you good luck with the implementation!


Kind regards,


Gerard Heerkens


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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:21 PM

Depending on your layout, perhaps time and a cleaning function could be demonstrated as separation.  Not everyone has the ideal structure and nobody has an ideal budget.  If you show that the time delays and additional cleaning duties required fro a non barrier separation are more expensive than installing the doors and walls, maybe you can win the internal battle.


Good luck$$$




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Posted 19 December 2018 - 08:22 PM

Tell your management personnel that are against the wall thing because it doesn't say so in the SQF book that it also doesn't say that employees have to tie their shoelaces.

Seriously have been in packaging companies that felt the same way because this is all new to them - walls go to the ceiling of the lunch room and there is a solid door.

How they want to go about that is up to them - if there is clearance from the roof of the lunchroom to the ceiling that area will then need to be on your PCO inspection list as well as an addition to your MCS.

Kind regards,
Glenn Oster

GOC GROUP | SQF & EESystem Operations Consultant


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