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SQF: The Authority in Food Manufacturing

As a food manufacturer, we take food safety seriously.  To us, as a supplier of products that are consumed by all ages, all healths and in all markets we believe that providing a safe product should always be foremost.

Generally speaking, food manufacturers are grouped by their risk level.  As an example, a processed and cooked deli meat supplier is of different risk level than a bottled water manufacturer.  These risk levels ensure that regulation, compliance and reporting follow the associated risk.  At any risk level however, regulators occur at the state level but are directed by the FDA.  In Georgia for example our bottled water facility is regulated and inspected by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Some manufacturers elect at their own discretion to seek accreditation above and beyond what is required by the State.  These accreditations can come in many forms, SQF (Safe, Quality, Food), NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), HACCP (Hazard analysis and critical control point), GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative).  Each of these accreditations are again, elective at the discretion of the manufacturer.  At times, certain customers or retailers will also demand that products they are selling maintain some accreditation greater than the FDA’s.

At RAIN Bottling Company, we maintain an SQF Level 2 accreditation.  Something that we did not meet for any specific retailer, but on a continued effort to ensure that only the highest quality products leave our bottling facility.  SQF addresses the complete supply chain of food, from raw materials at a vendor's facility to finished products on the store shelf.  

The first step in this is traceability, meaning can we identify when a product was made, what it was made from, who verified its quality and where it is now and being sold.  The complex supply chain of modern food programs make this an implementation challenge and quality record keeping becomes paramount.  To aid, RBC has implemented an electronic sterilizing barcode system, one where we can follow serial numbers of every unique component of a finished good (bottle, cap, box, pallet, water, etc).  Those serial numbers are recorded and a finished product LOT number associates each.

We encourage all consumers to ask questions about their food, where it came from, how it was made and how the vendor might ensure its quality.  An “open door” policy should be adopted and the right to inspect should be offered to all consumers.