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How to Become an SQF Practitioner

SQF means Safe Quality Food. It is a food safety certification program that ensures risks associated with food safety are controlled. SQF practitioners control different safety risks by ensuring food companies use safe products during manufacturing. You will need an SQF training course and subsequent certification to become a practitioner.

What do I Need to Become an SQF practitioner?

Food safety risks vary from one industry to another, and so is the requirements for becoming a certified SQF practitioner. To become one, you must first enroll in an SQF training course for your certification. During the training, there are different modules depending on your industry.

You will be required to choose a food safety code that matches your industry to guide your learning. The three main certification levels are as follows;

1.     Food Safety Fundamentals

This is specifically tailored for small and medium-sized suppliers/food companies who are just beginning to implement a food safety management system in place. It helps individuals and companies adopt robust safety standards and incorporate them into the existing practices. It aims at assisting trainees in achieving a global GFSI certification.

2. Food Safety Code

The SQF food safety code consists of GFSI food safety standards accepted worldwide. This code uses HACCP-based training to ensure products meet all regulations set by governing bodies. If you want to satisfy your buyers’ and retailers’ GFSI, this is the best SQF training course module to take.

3. Quality

SQFI offers a quality program for companies that wish to do excellently well in food safety. This module is specifically tailored to control and measure threats associated with the overall food quality. It is best for companies with a well-established food safety plan in place.

How Long Does it Take to Be Certified?

Getting SQF certified could be a long or short process, depending on a number of factors in your company. Before you decide to get registered, you have to build a Food Safety Management System and implement it in your company. A recent study shows that most companies took an average of 8 to 12 months to prepare for certification.

However, this time varies according to companies and their requirements. The following things should guide you on what to expect:

  • Whether you already have some basics of a food safety management system or are going to start from zero.
  • The amount of time and dedication your workers are willing to spend working on the system development.
  • Tools and assistance needed in the development and implementation
  • The number of products, categories, and process lines you have in your company.
  • The complexity of your process from start to finish.


Safe Quality Food System has numerous benefits to a company, such as risk management, customer retention, and increased market reach. This makes it a fundamental requirement for any food production company. To get SQF certified, you will need an SQF training course, depending on your industry. While the food safety module applies across all industries, you will need an additional one that matches your industry-specific requirements.


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