Certification, according to Caroline Rule / by Connor Pearce - Photography Toni Veziris


While the alphabet soup of food certification practices may be inscrutable to all but the most bureaucratic minds, Black Drum Roasters has recently been awarded SQF certification. To give us a sense of what this means and why it’s important for Black Drum and the food industry as a whole, Administrative Assistant Caroline Rule gave us the run down on what is an essential, but unrecognised aspect of the food production industry.

Q: What’s the value of being SQF certified?

Caroline: It just enhances our business, so basically we've had systems in place and paperwork but it enforces us to review those and improve. For example when I've looked at the non-conformances, I can go back and look and say, ‘Have we addressed that, do we need further training? Do we need to look at our suppliers?

Q: What’s the difference between SQF and other certification practices?

Caroline: It sets us apart, it’s the professionalism isn't it? HACCP, is a basic level, and we're operating at a higher level.

Q: What was the process of becoming SQF certified?

Caroline: It took a while but it was an added benefit, so it was worthwhile. The process was detailed but essential for the growth of Black Drum. We had it in our minds of what to do but we just improved on the process. 

Q: What did becoming SQF certified actually involve?

Caroline: It's documenting and ensuring, going back to suppliers, creating documentation that covers food safety and in accordance with SQF version 8. Ensuring that suppliers are HACCP certified and coordinating the production team for food safety meetings, constant audits of the warehouse. Getting the whole team on board. We had to have a mock trial in the case of a prooduct being recalled. 

Q: What are some of the broader issues that SQF is attempting to address?

Caroline: The recent thing has been food fraud and they're finding more and more of it. They're taking the product and grabbing the product and using it under your name, and it's sort of identity theft.