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Posted 16 May 2023 - 03:01 PM

Hello everyone,

I have this question about scheduling my SQF audit and I apologize if it's basic but I want to make sure that I understand the code and schedule the audits appropriately.


One of my facilities is wanting to change their audit window to this summer, July-September. We typically have our audits December-February, so we've had ours already. 


Here's where I have some confusion: I have a new piece of palletizing equipment coming in, which will randomize my quality sampling more, but does not increase or decrease the amount of sampling. While we should validate the system, there isn't a major change to the product itself (this is a post-packaging quality check). While SQF states there should be at least 60-days/2 months of data for a change in the process, would this count because it's only new equipment? The process isn't truly changing per se, but I also want to make sure that I understand our limits and don't want to schedule and then the auditor needs to come back in 30 or 60 days depending on data they need.


Would it be acceptable to go ahead and change the audit window with this equipment coming in? Or are we setting ourselves up for a re-inspection needed in a short amount of time.


Thanks y'all, appreciate any insight and wisdom and questioning!!  :thumbup:


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Posted 16 May 2023 - 03:35 PM

This isn't an initial SQF audit, but a recertification audit correct?  I would think if you have the documents in place for when the auditor comes, you should be good.  I figured the 3 months worth of documents is for an initial audit.  If you get new equipment, etc. within your recertification window, it should be good, as long as you are following your programs as it is written.  Big one here is how are you documenting the change and verifying and validating it. 



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Posted 16 May 2023 - 04:12 PM

a couple of notes:


Be careful moving your audit date----you are limited in the # of these-severely


That is not a change in your process, its a change in a step in the process--that is not the same thing


the documents required is for the certification audit---the assumption is you will always have enough documentation post initial certification


A food safety program is a living breathing thing------do not put the business on hold when your job is to support the facility in producing safe, wholesome finished goods 

No production = no job

Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


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Posted 16 May 2023 - 04:45 PM

One thing to keep in mind is SQF has a definition for "processing", where it essentially describes any changes you're making to food itself.  When they say they want updates if your process changes, that's what they're referring to.


I don't see where the addition of this palletizing equipment changes your process as it pertains to food safety, so long as it's just stacking boxes or something and doesn't take on a role of labeling or directing where the palletized product goes.  You'll need to document the implementation of this new machine, with a risk assessment detailing whether it would or would not affect food safety and have that on file in case the auditor asks.



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Posted 17 May 2023 - 01:52 AM

You can go ahead and call them up and should be able to get the change without an additional visit however I believe you'll find they will require a documentation review within couple of months and on an off site basis.

Kind regards,
Glenn Oster

Goodstart Coastal Enterprises, PMA | EES & VS Business Development & SQF Development, Implementation & Certification Consultant - 772.646.4115



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Posted 17 May 2023 - 04:55 AM

Hi Meg-G,


I tend to agree with jfrey123, this is a piece of packing equipment and should not be regarded as a major process change, you won’t need 2 months of paperwork to prove it is working as intended. I would go ahead with your audit.


Kind regards,



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