SQF said it will become the first internationally accredited third-party assessment program to require unannounced audits.
The division of the Food Marketing Institute said it will be possible with the support of its Technical Advisory Council.
The protocol will be introduced in February 2014, implemented in July and require that one out of three SQF audits be unannounced.
“We understand that the food industry must respond to and meet the nation’s food safety challenges more rapidly and effectively, which requires a more nimble approach to our program,” said Robert Garfield, senior vice president, SQFI.
“Although many stakeholders, such as governments and consumer organizations, recognize the efficacy of the SQFI food safety management program, unannounced audits will elevate the SQF Program to the next level by providing a standard that will prepare SQF-Certified suppliers to be audit-ready at any time.”