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GLOBALGAP and the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute said yesterday at the annual CIES International Food Safety Conference in Barcelona, Spain that the SQF 1000 standard will be benchmarked to the GLOBALGAP standard. Benchmarking by GLOBALGAP means that SQF will be able to offer produce growers food safety certification recognized by both the Global Food Safety Initiative and GLOBALGAP. As a result, a primary producer will be able to obtain both SQF and GLOBALGAP certification simultaneously in a single audit.
"This is an important step forward that will enable a single audit to meet the requirements of both standards, leading to a simplification of requirements for suppliers as well as eliminating the costs associated with duplicate audits," noted GLOBALGAP chairman Nigel Garbutt.
"This partnership will benefit produce suppliers in several ways," noted Jill Hollingsworth, group VP of food safety programs at the Food Marketing Institute, which administers the SQF program. "The produce sector will save time and money by receiving two certifications with a single audit. More important, this combined audit provides a solution for those suppliers who need to comply with customer requests for SQF and GLOBALGAP certification."
According to FMI spokeswoman Kathleen Thomas, the benchmarking process has already begun and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2009.
The SQF Institute, headquartered in Arlington, Va., runs the SQF program, a global food safety and quality certification and management system. The program provides independent certification that a producer’s food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety requirements.
Cologne, Germany-based GLOBALGAP is a private-sector oganization that sets voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products worldwide. The GLOBALGAP standard is primarily designed to reassure consumers about how food is produced on the farm by ensuring food safety and minimizing adverse environmental effects of farming operations, reducing the use of chemical inputs and ensuring a responsible approach to worker health and safety.