ARLINGTON, VA — April 28, 2010 — The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute recently added an Ethical Sourcing standard for labor and environmental practices to its supplier auditing programs. The SQF Institute, a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), already audits suppliers worldwide for compliance with rigorous food safety and quality standards.

“The Ethical Sourcing standard will help advance fair labor practices and environmental stewardship on a global scale using the reach of the SQF program. This standard will give the food industry and consumers an extra measure of assurance that these practices are conducted according to the best available guidance and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations,” said Jill Hollingsworth, FMI group vice president of food safety programs.

The environmental part of the standard, for example, addresses energy use, air emissions, water consumption, waste management, pollution prevention, land use and biodiversity.

The labor component includes equal opportunity in hiring and employment, wage compliance, worker benefits and occupational health and safety.

As with all SQF standards, companies must have well documented policies and plans, personnel assigned to oversee implementation and appropriate training. SQF auditors will verify annually that companies are meeting the requirements of the standard.

The SQF Institute is now pilot-testing use of the standard and training auditors how to check companies for compliance.

The voluntary Ethical Sourcing standard is independent of the SQF standards for programs covering food safety and quality; suppliers, however, can reduce their costs by undergoing all three SQF audits – safety, quality and ethical sourcing – at the same time.

SQF auditors currently check more than 4,000 sites where companies grow or manufacture food in 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North and South America.

For more information about SQF standards, visit To review a copy of the new Ethical Sourcing standard, visit