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Getting Ready for SQF Edition 9

By Jeff Chilton   |   

It’s time to start getting pumped about this year’s SQF Global Conference! This industry leading event will be virtual this year but will still offer stellar educational programs by talented speakers. Here’s what you can expect:

SQF Global 

SQF Global will take place virtually October 27-30, 2020. Specific tracks will be coordinated for the Americas, Australia/Asia and Europe. It will be an action packed event with specific highlights for:

  • Keynote Sessions on The Future Is Faster Than You Think
  • Codebreaker Sessions to define the changes in SQF Edition 9
  • Pandemic session discussing past, current and future pandemics
  • Education and Collaboration Sessions

SQF Edition 9 Updates 

SQF Edition 9 has now been published in draft form and the final code will be published by October 2020. Edition 9 will go into effect in May 2021 but companies should start preparing well in advance of that date. Edition 9 will be the big news of the conference for sure. Below are some key changes that will be discussed so you can prepare for them:

  • New structure to the SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing for elements of Food Manufacturing, Animal Products, Dietary Supplements, Pet Food and Animal Feed.
  • New requirements for Food Safety Culture Program with defined objectives and performance measures
  • New requirement for alternate SQF Practitioner
  • New requirements for annual Specification reviews
  • New requirements for contracts with 3rd Party Storage and Distribution
  • New Requirements for Product Release Label legislation assurance
  • New requirement for ambient air tests
  • And much more

I encourage you to be proactive and invest the time well in advance of your audit recertification dates to be fully prepared for your SQF Edition 9 audit. You will perform better, plus avoid the time and expenses of non-conformances or have to endure surveillance audits for scores less than 85. 

The SQF Edition 9 Code includes new and updated requirements to help continually improve your food safety and quality systems. These improvements help protect your company and brands, while also protecting consumers — a win-win for all.

SQF Quality Code

If you were not previously certified to the SQF Quality Code, I would encourage do it now! The format is a Pass/Fail audit (with no adverse impact on your Food Safety Audit score) — which makes it very appealing. The SQF Quality Code helps suppliers implement formal Quality Process Control Systems that add significant value by helping reduce complaints, rework and non-conforming product. This system can really generate a healthy ROI for your company.

Final Thoughts

The SQF Conference is always fun and informative. The virtual format will be different but there is still a lot of great information to be shared and networking opportunities available. SQF provides all the resources you need to have a world class food safety and quality system. Take time to learn about what is offered and see how it applies to your operation to continually improve your company. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Either add a comment to this blog or email me at

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