FRANKLIN PARK, IL—FTA member Prairie State Group (PSG), a printer specializing in flexible film, food grade packaging materials and pressure-sensitive labels, recently achieved its eighth SQF Certification in both food safety and quality Edition 8.1, an internationally recognized food safety standard from the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute.
The Safe Quality Food Program is a rigorous food safety and quality program that is recognized by retailers, brand owners and food service providers worldwide. According to the SQF Institute, its family of food safety and quality codes is designed to meet industry, customer and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain.
The process for obtaining certification involves risk assessment and prevention at all levels of a company’s operations, including order entry, raw materials, production processes, handling and transportation. Everything is certified by a quality system that documents all activities to help achieve those results.
PSG’s SQF Certification in both food safety and quality Edition 8.1 is the highest level a printer/converter can achieve. The company has been scoring in the high 90s—with a few 100s mixed in—over the last eight years.
Achieving the designation this year proved more challenging. As it was done during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company needed to make sure its employees were safe, which it says was of the utmost importance.
“On one side of the equation, SQF Certification made it easier to ramp up our housekeeping and scheduled cleaning because it’s part of our culture,” said Dan Doherty, executive VP of operations/principal. “On the other end, we were dealing with anxiety and fear of being an ‘essential’ business supplying food packaging.”
PSG’s QA Team and COVID Response Team coordinated their efforts to make sure any new procedures followed SQF guidelines including documentation, verification and validation.
“As we embraced the challenge, upgraded PPE, secured all types of cleaners and disinfectants, we needed to assure our team we would not take any shortcuts and use an abundance of caution,” Doherty added.