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    Are You Reaping the Benefits of Your Document Control & Records Program?

    In the food industry, keeping your site well-maintained and organized is crucial. However, a well-managed facility can still fall victim to poor document and record management. Establishing a documented food safety management system can help reduce workplace confusion through more accurate and accessible procedures and policies and identify opportunities for improved food safety controls. 

    What Is Document Control?

    Document control refers to the group of practices that ensure documents are created, stored, reviewed, distributed, and disposed of in a way that is organized and verifiable. 

    SQF Code Edition 9 Section 2.2 in Part A of the SQF Code focuses on Implementing and Maintaining the SQF Food Safety Code. The Section outlines the methods and procedures the site needs to use to meet the requirements of the SQF Food Safety Code in electronic and/or hard copy documentation. Section 2.2.12 outlines the Food Safety Plans and Good Manufacturing Practices. The site must implement a process by which it reviews and updates the food safety plans and other aspects of the SQF System; any changes must be validated or justified and then documented and communicated. 

    The Importance of Documentation and Record Organization

    It is not enough to have staff who understand your food safety management system; you need to physically document many aspects as a means to ensure consistent implementation and to verify its effectiveness. 

    Key documents and records include: 

    • Food safety manuals 
    • Policies and procedures 
    • Monitoring logs
    • Validation studies 
    • Verification records
    • Training records
    • Product release forms 

    Retaining these documents and records is important, but managing them in an organized manner is paramount - this is at the core of your document control and records program. Whether you keep files electronically or through physical storage, you must ensure the currency and accuracy of your documentation and ensure it is accessible to relevant staff when needed.

    Preserving Valuable Data and Information

    The document control program is responsible for controlling critical food safety system documentation and retaining program data to help improve processes and ensure consistent implementation. These procedures will allow sites to document and access valuable data and information.

    This data allows organizations to make sound decisions based on facts, trends, and statistics. Sites can also use this data to improve processes, identify cost-saving opportunities, find new markets, create new products, and identify sources of failure. 

    Maintaining a Documentation Process

    A document and record management system is not something you create and forget about. Maintaining an effective food safety management system requires ongoing attention to the documentation that supports it. Make sure your program defines how documents and records will be kept up to date and include how your site will be informed of any updates to the industry standards and regulatory information.

    The SQF Document Control and Records Program

    Documents and records not only keep your site compliant, but they also help support your food safety culture. 

    The New SQF Risk Management Collection is created by SQF and designed for cross-functional teams — not just the SQF practitioner — and includes seven courses into the most critical areas of risk management, including document control and records. 

    Our new SQF Food Safety Risk Management Collection is available for purchase for $899. The SQF Document Control and Records Program is available for $189. 

    The SQF Document Control and Records Program will help you learn precisely what must be documented, why document control is vital, and how to manage critical documents and records adequately to move your food safety culture from good to great. 

    For more information regarding Document Control and Records, visit www.sqfi.com/online-training/food-safety-risk-management-collection to purchase SQF’s online, self-paced courses.

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