Food Processing

food certifications

Recent conference reveals new food safety recommendations

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster

In the food industry, being SQF certified is important across all parts of production, especially when it comes to construction. SQF stands for “Safe Quality Food,” and is a food management certification scheme created by the SQF Institute. With an average of a one-year implementation process, the rigorous requirements of this certification prove to be a well-recognized way of maintaining the safety of the products and devices that companies in this industry use. Ultimately, the end goal is to make sure that the process of food production is safe from beginning to end.

The benefits that come with this certification are significant. Some of them include:

  • You can better manage the risks associated with food safety, as a team. Implementing this system into your environment will strengthen your entire operation. Ingrid Sweeney, from Industrial Packaging challenges you to ask look at your organization with a new perspective and ask yourself who the one responsible for food safety is. “Well, actually it’s everyone. Each employee needs to understand how they can impact safe practices,” she says. 
  • You can prove your dedication to the industry. The SQF certification is a heavily involved process, and rightfully so. When it comes to being a part of the food production industry, you must be completely transparent in your efforts to provide quality products for consumers.
  • You can become part of a worldwide movement. As stated previously, this certification is well-recognized. Join the international strides towards safe food handling. Ingrid Sweeney says, “Thousands of companies in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and in Asia have received the certification–it’s a big deal.”

SQF and the Construction Industry

In late October, the SQF International Conference revealed a significant relationship between safe food production and construction. It was discovered and presented that in 2017, 50% of the top 10 minor non-conformances and 20% of the top 10 major non-conformances were related to construction. For 2018, the numbers improved only slightly. 30% of the minor non-conformances and (still) 20% of the major non-conformances were construction-related. 

When comparing and contrasting 2017 and 2018, the SQF Institute found that plants still have physical challenges, especially floors, walls, and ceilings posing a risk to the product or process.

One of the major recommendations from the Institute to prevent non-conformances involves HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) team refresher training. Define explicitly by the FDA, this is “a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement, and handling, to manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of the finished product.” 

Other recommendations included the use of:

  • A preventative maintenance schedule 
  • plant improvement plan system 
  • A system for temporary repairs
  • A review of Critical Control Points (CCPs)

At Galbraith, we are proud to say that we are both SQF and HACCP certified. We understand the significance and responsibility that comes with the intersection of construction/maintenance and the food production industry. Many of the recommendations from the SQF Institute relate directly to our line of work, so we are here to do our part and make sure the standards for food safety never drop below top notch. Our experience fits with William A. Foster’s philosophy: Quality is never an accident.