Date of Conferral





Health Services


David Anderson


The food sector accounts for $1 of every $6 in the U.S. economy, with more than $700 billion in revenue every year. However, incidents of food safety and substandard quality continue to rise. Consumers are beginning to mistrust and have lower confidence in the food supply chain. Food manufacturers need to address this issue to remain profitable. One approach includes the introduction of food policy programs that allow for independent auditing and certifications such as the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification. The SQF certification was established as a rigorous and credible benchmark for food handlers to enforce food safety and quality standards. The purpose of this qualitative case study research was to evaluate the perceived usefulness of the SQF certification to food manufacturers. Guided by the theory of diffusion of innovation, data collection for this study included 35 stakeholder semistructured interviews and a review of 5 publicly available documents for triangulation. Thematic analysis of the transcripts was performed to generate answers to the research questions. Study findings revealed that if properly implemented, the SQF certification is a credible and robust GFSI scheme that provides effective guidelines for food production. Findings also revealed 2 opportunities for improvement. Participants noted that training programs for SQF practitioners and auditors should be improved, likewise more commitment and involvement of facility management should be required. The findings may contribute to social change by providing food producers with strategies to minimize food production failures. With the perceived benefits of the SQF certification, other food producers who have not adopted this scheme can benefit from this holistic certification to enhance their food production network.

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