What is the difference between HACCP and SQF?

Cynthia Weber, March 15, 2024


Originally published October 24, 2012

HACCP and SQF are both food safety management systems used by food facilities to assure the safety and quality of their products. Due to their similarities, it can be difficult to distinguish between them, but each system fulfills crucial and separate functions. 

What is HACCP?

HACCP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is a science-based system that focuses on identifying and controlling food safety hazards. Its goal is to increase food safety management and reduce or eliminate risk. 

HACCP involves a systematic approach to identifying and analyzing potential physical, chemical, or biological hazards in food products. Once identified, the HACCP system implements measures to prevent or control those hazards and monitors and verifies their effectiveness.  

Read more about HACCP in our food safety system guide.

What is SQF?

SQF, or Safe Quality Food, is a food safety program and quality management certification. It was created by the SQF Institute (SQFI) to control food safety risks.   

The SQF program has been designed to meet industry, regulatory, and customer requirements for all food supply chain sectors, from farm to retail. It’s made up of eleven codes updated every few years in a new edition. Edition 9, the current edition of the Safe Quality Food code, was released in October 2020.  

Learn more about this food safety management system in our guide to SQF. 


SQF and HACCP both address food safety. So what is the difference between them?

HACCP is often used as a basis for other food safety management systems, including SQF, FSSC 22000, BRCGS, and ISO 22000. It also offers different versions for a variety of food industry sectors, including juice, dairy, retail & food service, and seafood. 

SQF was built on HACCP principles but also includes additional quality management and regulatory compliance requirements.  

These requirements involve a comprehensive evaluation of a company’s food safety and quality management systems, including documentation, policies and procedures, and facility management practices. 

Both HACCP and SQF systems are recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and required by food manufacturers and retailers worldwide. 

Training Your Team in Food Safety

At Registrar Corp, we specialize in food and beverage compliance and leverage that expertise on our Online Training platform. We work with food safety industry experts, course designers, and auditors to create current and comprehensive 5-star rated courses for food facilities and industry professionals.   

Some of our most popular food safety trainings include: 

  • SQF Practitioner Training & Implementation: Fulfill SQF Edition 9 training requirements and learn how to be an SQF Practitioner. This course covers SQF system documentation, implementation, and auditing and comes with a certificate of completion.   
  • HACCP Certification: Learn HACCP requirements and how to write a HACCP Plan from start to finish. This certification course is approved by the International HACCP Alliance. 
  • PCQI Online Training: Learn to develop FDA-compliant Food Safety plans and earn an official FSPCA certificate. This in-depth training prepares course takers to become Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals. 

Learn more by visiting our food safety course catalog.