DECEMBER 18, 2014 – ARLINGTON, VA – The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) today announced results from a recent initiative with The Acheson Group, LLC (TAG) that compared the elements of SQF Level 2 Module 7 to the proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) anticipated Produce Safety Rule (PS) . The analysis found that the SQF code meets or exceeds most  proposed produce safety rule requirements.

TAG assessed the SQFI module against FDA PS requirements and fruit and vegetable good agricultural practices (GAPs) and good manufacturing practices (GMPs) issued by the agency in 1997 under the “Guidance for Industry – Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.” The results yielded similarities and will offer opportunities for SQF leadership to address better alignment with FSMA.

“The unbiased analysis by TAG demonstrates to growers that there are helpful resources to meet the most sweeping food safety regulations in 40 years,” Robert Garfield, senior vice president of SQFI, a division of the Food Marketing Institute, commented. “TAG’s science-based approach offers the food supply chain assurances in adopting SQF programs in order to comply with Food Safety Modernization Act protocols and procedures, and sites options for SQF’s technical team to continue to improve our code.

"TAG’s analysis demonstrated that the SQF Code meets the proposed Produce Safety Rule requirements, and in many instances, exceeds the proposed rule’s requirements, recognizing items may be covered by either existing regulations or pending FSMA rules.

Dr. David Acheson, president and CEO of TAG, concluded in his final assessment, “As the food industry looks to protect customers and their brands as well as be in compliance with new requirements, our analysis indicates that being SQF-level-2 certified to today’s SQF Code will elevate facilities to meet the proposed Produce Safety Rule requirements. For the few elements that are different, it will not take SQFI long to gain full alignment with the proposed rule which is a laudable goal that reflects SQFI’s commitment to continuous improvement and leading practices in global food safety assessment standards practices.”