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SQF Audit Series: Fundamentals 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 find the SQF Audit Food Safety checklists here, and the SQF Audit Food Quality checklist here.

What’s Ahead?


This post explores the SQF Fundamentals program, the Food Sector Categories within it, and the associated levels.

Who is the SQF Fundamentals pathway for?

Fundamentals is for small or medium sized sites and/or growing manufacturers starting out on their food safety journey and looking for a cost-effective audit process. Fundamentals is also appropriate for sites that do not have a buyer requirement for a particular audit type, but are simply looking for a HACCP based food safety program.

Why is it important?

Fundamentals serves as the foundation for building a food safety program. While the Fundamentals code is not Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked, it acts as a pre-requisite to the programs that are GFSI benchmarked. These certifications would include the Edition 8.1 – Food Safety and Food Quality program, both of which are more advanced SQF certifications.

What are the major components of a Fundamentals audit?

Basic certification is an entry-level certification focusing heavily on implementation of the Code requirements and less on documentation.

Intermediate is for those who’ve completed the Basic certification, or already have a Food Safety Program in place. For the Intermediate Code, there is an introduction to documentation, but implementation is still the major focus.

No matter where you begin in your SQF certification journey, preparing for that first audit is key! Utilizing a checklist based on what the auditor will be looking for helps you stay prepared.


SQF Checklist: Primary Production – Basic

This checklist addresses the requirements of all modules in SQF Fundamentals for Primary Production – Basic, Edition 1Sites working towards certification of the SQF Fundamentals for Primary Production – Basic, Edition 1 must document, implement and sustain the system elements of module 2, in addition to the food safety fundamentals defined in the Module 7 based on the facility’s food sector category/ies.

View Checklist 1

SQF Checklist: Primary Production – Intermediate

This checklist addresses the requirements of all modules in SQF Fundamentals for Primary Production – Intermediate, Edition 1. Sites working towards certification of the SQF Fundamentals for Primary Production – Intermediate, Edition 1 must document, implement and sustain the system elements of module 2, in addition to the food safety fundamentals defined in the Module 7 based on the facility’s food sector category/ies.

View Checklist 2

SQF Checklist: Manufacturing – Basic

This checklist addresses the requirements of all modules in SQF Fundamentals for Manufacturing – Basic, Edition 1Sites working towards certification of the SQF Fundamentals for Manufacturing – Basic, Edition 1 must document, implement and sustain the system elements of module 2, in addition to the food safety fundamentals defined in Module 11 based on the facility’s food sector category/ies.

View Checklist 3

SQF Checklist: Manufacturing – Intermediate

This checklist addresses the requirements of all modules in SQF Fundamentals for Manufacturing – Intermediate, Edition 1.  Sites working towards certification of the SQF Fundamentals for Manufacturing – Intermediate, Edition 1 must document, implement and sustain the system elements of module 2, in addition to the food safety fundamentals defined in the Modules 11 based on the facility’s food sector category/ies.

View Checklist 4

Looking for the SQF Audit Main Page?

Click Here

Attribution: The resources presented here were sourced from SQF Institute and their SQF Fundamentals Program page.