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SQF Audit Series: Edition 8.1 (Advanced) – Food Safety Checklists

UpKeep’s SQF Audit series is a collection of easy-to-use checklists your organization can utilize during your Safe Quality Food (SQF) audit journey.
To start with the general overview of the SQF Audit, click here. You can skip to the SQF Audit Fundamentals checklists by clicking here. You can find the SQF Audit Food Quality checklist here.

What’s Ahead?


This post explores the SQF Food Safety program and the various Food Sector Categories it includes.

Who is the SQF Food Safety pathway for?

Advanced – Food Safety is for any business looking to level up their game! Specifically, it’s for sites that currently have a food safety plan in place or have completed Fundamentals and are wanting a certification that is Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked.

We’ve added the word ‘Advanced’ to the naming of every SQF audit beyond Fundamentals. This is to help clarify between what’s considered the foundation of a food safety program (Fundamentals) and what’s considered more rigorous later-stage work (any audits within Edition 8.1).

Why is it important?

The Edition 8.1 (Advanced) – Food Safety modules are certified HACCP plans and GFSI benchmarked.

What are the major components of a SQF Edition 8.1 (Advanced) – Food Safety audit?

The components of the audit itself will vary based on what food sector categories your business falls into. Those Food Sector Categories (FSC) include:

  • Primary Production
  • Manufacturing
  • Storage and Distribution
  • Manufacture of Food Packaging
  • Food Retail

For more clarity into the specifics of each audit, check out the SQFI manual for your particularly industry as labelled above. Additionally, each checklist below is broken into the different components of that FSC’s audit.

How do I know which Edition 8.1 code (and checklist) to refer to?

Determining which code you refer to comes down to the FSC your business operates within, and your goals for the certification! If in doubt, check with SQF Institute for further clarification!

The Edition 8.1 (Advanced) checklists are broken down by:

  • Primary Production
  • Manufacturing
  • Storage and Distribution
  • Manufacture of Food Packaging
  • Food Retail
  • Food Quality*

Food Quality can be applied to any FSC seeking to level up their food safety plan by focusing on quality!

For more on the SQF Food Quality Code and to access the checklist:

Click Here