Certified vs Compliant: And Why It Matters

certified compliant audit

“There is an inherent risk for food manufacturers who use packaging vendors that are NOT food safe certified.” -HQC Inc.

Food Safe Certification

Being compliant is not the same as being certified, and choosing to work with a company who does not have the latter can mean big bucks and brand damaging recalls for your company.

Food manufacturers have begun to implement various internal processes to maintain cleanliness and eliminate the potential for disease exposure. Unfortunately, their safety and sanitation practices end there, and what happens after the food is transferred to their vendor’s packaging, is often overlooked.

certified vs compliantThis is where certifications such as the SQF Food Safety Program, or the BRC (British Retail Consortium) and other third-party certifiers comes into play. Created in response to the shortcomings of ISO 9001 and the gaps in the HACCP system, these programs provide rigorous quality control certification aimed at mitigating contamination risks across supply chains. The SQF Program, for example, has established a meticulous set of policies, enforced via annual audits, which hold SQF-Certified manufacturers like HQC Inc. accountable.

The primary benefit of sourcing packaging from vendors who are certified is risk mitigation. Products which are most susceptible to withdrawals and recalls are those that only meet the minimum level of regulatory scrutiny. Recalls not only put customers in jeopardy, but their negative impact on a company’s reputation can be extremely damaging. Often times, in the wake of a recall, a brand’s negative image within the marketplace is so detrimental that many are unable to recover.

Compliant? Says who?

Some vendors are using deceptive wording like “compliant” to compete with certified companies like HQC.

As low-end, under-regulation products from overseas continue to permeate the food manufacturing industry, so too has the idea of “Food Safe Compliancy,” as opposed to actual certifications. This deceptive wording was conceptualized by non-certified companies to hide the fact that they are precisely that- non-certified. While their internal practices may mirror the processes created by such agencies as the SQF Institute, they lack any sort of audit mechanism or regulatory body to hold them accountable. Anyone can claim to be “compliant,” but without these audits and accountability, it is impossible to substantiate the claims.

HQC Is SQF Certified

At HQC, we believe that “good enough” is not enough.

To some packaging vendors, the standards set by ISO 9001 or HACCP are “good enough,” the gaps in these guidelines are “permissible,” and gambling with customers’ brand reputation is just “the cost of doing business”. At HQC, we strongly disagree. While these vendors continue to cut costs along with corners, HQC’s SQF-Certified facility and processes uphold the highest level of standards. HQC takes pride in being able to provide proper documentation and certificates that demonstrate our commitment to the quality of our products- and yours!

We understand that “compliant” does NOT mean certified, and that food safety is too important to risk the inclusion of questionable or unregulated materials. By strictly adhering to our SGF Program, and verifying adherence via meticulous audits, HQC remains SQF-Certified, giving you peace of mind.

Fill out our contact form or call us at (630) 820-5550 to discuss how we can accommodate your next project.