A Guide to SQF Software

Shamonique Schrick
Contributing Writer

Safe Quality Food (SQF) software is used by food and beverage companies to help satisfy the requirements set forth by the Safe Food Quality Institute (SFQI). It can be used to help ensure applicable program requirements are being met on an ongoing basis. Here, we take a closer look to help you determine whether SQF software is right for your company.

What Is SQF?

The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is one of the most popular standards recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). There are three distinct levels of SQF certification.

What Is SQF Certification?

SQF certification can be attained by companies as a means of supporting a strong brand reputation. Restaurants, supermarkets, other food retailers, and consumers ultimately seek credibility in the brands they choose to purchase food and beverage products from, and therefore seek SQF Certification. SQF bases its certification on requirements set forth by both government and industry best practices, so by becoming certified from an organization such as SQFI, companies can demonstrate integrity in terms of complying with safety and quality protocols.

SQF Code Edition 9 Conversion Guide

Why Is SQF Important?

For companies at various points in the Food & Beverage supply chain, becoming SQF certified delivers several key advantages. Here are a few compelling reasons to consider becoming certified in this specific GFSI scheme:

1. Stronger Approach to Food Safety

Because there are key safety components within the SQF program, being certified will keep your company focused on safety. Your company’s food safety management system will improve continuously as the program’s standards are updated to reflect evolving best practices.

2. Enhanced Quality

SQF is unique in that it has a Quality Code which can help to assess and control quality threats. Aligning your processes with this program can help you limit deviations and produce consistent, quality products.

3. Improved Brand Image

SQF certification establishes your brand as trustworthy, which could drive business prospects and open your company up to new markets. This certification is globally recognized, which could further help to expand your outreach.

4. Better Overall Performance

According to research published in the Journal of Food Protection®, the overwhelming majority of certified companies (90%) feel that a GFSI scheme helped them address food safety concerns, while 74% would maintain certification even if their customers didn’t require it.

5. Stability in Uncertain Markets

Navigating market changes will always be a concern for Food & Beverage companies, but SQF certification can promote brand stability. This credential is likely to remain a sought-after differentiator that can help you secure and attract customers, even amidst fluctuating market conditions.

What Is the Difference Between SQF & HACCP?


SQF and HACCP both promote food safety. While SQF is a food safety management system and a standard recognized by GFSI, it actually encompasses HACCP.


HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) is an internationally-recognized process for identifying and managing risks related to food safety. It takes a systemic, preventive approach to controlling risks through every step in the supply chain, including biological, physical, and chemical risks. There are seven components of HACCP:

  • Perform a hazard analysis

  • Identify critical control points (CCPs)

  • Set critical limits for preventive measures

  • Establish CCP monitoring requirements

  • Determine corrective actions for out-of-spec CCPs

  • Develop and maintain effective record keeping procedures to document HACCP effectiveness

  • Establish processes to ensure the HACCP system is working properly

Having a HACCP plan in place puts Food & Beverage companies in a good position to become SQF certified. With that being said, there are additional elements to the SQF program, so companies that are HACCP-compliant will still need to establish, document, and implement a comprehensive SQF program prior to pursuing certification.

Does My Company Need SQF Software?

If your organization is SQF certified or is pursuing SQF certification, SQF software can help organize and manage program requirements in one centralized system. It can also help you track program tasks, and notify you of any out-of-compliant results immediately. Early notifications give food and beverage manufacturers time to correct issues before they become problems. SQF software like SafetyChain can save companies massive amounts of time and money.

Digital Plant Management

As program requirements change, you can quickly and efficiently update your entire supply chain through easy-to-use online portals. Plus, you can capture real-time insights into SQF program performance to ensure it’s consistently in line with expectations. 

However, even if you aren’t certified, SQF software may still be a valuable solution worth exploring. Many food safety solutions are now robust enough to effectively store and manage requirements from a multitude of programs, including supplier compliance, food safety protocols, regulatory, and GFSI. For this reason, the advantages of having software in place are not exclusive to food and beverage companies that are SQF certified.

About SafetyChain Software

SafetyChain is the #1 Digital Plant Management Platform purpose-built to improve yield, maximize productivity, and ensure compliance standards for food, beverage, and consumer products.