Feed Bites

Why and How Certifications Matter

Written by: Guest   |   October 14, 2021

Feed safety, Guest perspective

SQF Partnership with AFIA for the Safe Feed/Safe Food (SF/SF) Certification Program

By Gigi Vita, chief food safety assessment officer & senior vice president, The Food Industry Association (FMI)

The global food supply is as intertwined and integrated as it’s ever been. What happens on a feedlot in Nebraska can certainly impact a consumer in North Dakota, the same way that a broiler chicken’s diet can be the make-or-break difference to a shopper using a QR code to learn more about a particular product at the point of sale.

As those in this industry have long understood, the notion of a safe, high quality food supply is not limited to human food. Wholesome feed sustains animals that are part of the human food supply, and contribute to nutrition, health and taste.

To demonstrate their commitment to providing feed that meets and exceeds criteria for food safety and quality, animal food manufacturers of all kinds can take advantage of certification programs designed to ensure compliance and instill confidence, including the American Feed Industry Association’s Safe Feed/Safe Food (SF/SF) certification program and the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification program from the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI).

Certification through these programs provides the pathway for manufacturers of all foods – including animal feed – to meet the high standards they set for themselves and what’s expected of them by their customers and regulatory agencies.

Certifications can bolster a feed manufacturer’s business and reputation in a number of ways:

  • Streamlined Processes: By pursuing third-party certification, facilities can gain greater clarity on what’s expected and required of your operation and therefore, streamline your processes. The SQF program was created to meet industry, customer and regulatory environments for all sectors of the food chain and has met Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarks since 2004.
  • Wealth of Resources: Animal feed manufacturers can tap into SQFI’s expansive collection of training materials and resources, from tips on getting started to ongoing guidance. Beyond online and in-person courses and a library of written materials, SQFI enables access to thousands of professionals and practitioners in the SQF community, for one-on-one advice, networking discussions and insightful sessions during an annual conference.
  • Relevant Sector Knowledge: The SQF Family of Food Safety Codes provides specific direction for organizations to become SQF certified. That family of codes includes animal feed manufacturing as well as other sectors within the food chain, such as primary animal production, aquaculture, primary plant production, food manufacturing, animal product manufacturing, dietary supplement manufacturing, pet food manufacturing, manufacture of food packaging, storage and distribution, food retail, food service and quality.

SQF’s latest Food Safety Code for Animal Feed Manufacturing, Edition 9, outlines the steps needed to achieve certification, including registration on the SQFI assessment database, the choice of a designated SQF practitioner, training, determination of certification scope, documentation, mandatory and applicable elements, pre-audit assessments, selection of a certification body, selection of an SQF auditor, audit details and reporting and any necessary corrective actions, among other elements. Requirements for maintaining certification are also listed and explained.

Underscoring the power of collaboration throughout the food chain, SQFI is proud to serve as a resource and administrator for AFIA’s SF/SF certification. By going above and beyond existing requirements, certification to SQF codes and to the SF/SF program is the sustaining force for a strong, healthy future for animals and people alike.

For more information, please visit the new SF/SF certification program website or contact Paul Davis, Ph.D., AFIA's director of quality, animal food safety and education.

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