What Is Food Quality?
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Defining Food QualityTypically, the term food quality represents the sum of all properties and attributes of a food item that are acceptable to the customer. These food quality attributes include:
- Appearance (including size, shape, colour, gloss and consistency)
- Nutritional content
- Ethical and sustainable production
Quality Management SystemsThe quality management system is a formalised system that documents a food businesses organisational structure, responsibilities, processes, procedures and resources which direct and control how products are produced. It is a proactive approach which identifies issues before they arise through a continuous process of process and produce assessment, auditing and fault correction in order to meet contracted product characteristics; and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of production.
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- Good Agricultural Practices (GAP):
- Good Manufacturing Practices
Those aspects of quality assurance which ensures that materials and articles are consistently produced and controlled to ensure conformity with the rules applicable to them and with the quality standards appropriate to their intended use by not endangering human health or causing an unacceptable change on the composition of the food or causing deterioration in organoleptic characteristics thereof
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
Food Quality Standards
Customer or third party standards offer a framework to guide and support food companies in developing their policies and procedures and implementing a quality management system that meets a high level of food safety and food law compliance; food quality and customer requirements; and the protection of people, animal and environmental welfare. The development and implementation of public and private food safety and quality standards across the globe have increased in response to rising customer and consumer expectations; the growing interest in food safety, legal and institutional requirements; and increased efforts to achieve competitive advantage. A comprehensive customer or third-party standard will include:A document approved by a recognised body that provides, for common and repeated use, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, with which compliance is not mandatory
- Employee training
- ingredient specifications
- Quality manual
- Standard operating procedures
- Critical control points
- Sampling and analytical schedules
- Reporting systems
- Review processes
AuditingAudits are typically conducted in order to assess the food business overall compliance to regulations and internal policies. The audit process involves documentation review and conduction of checks and interviews to confirm compliance with a standard. Audits can be classified as first, second- or third-party audits:
- First party audits or internal audits are conducted internally, i.e. within the organisation. They are used for self-assessment, verification of internal standards and continual improvement.
- Second party audits are conducted by a primary organisation on one of its suppliers or subcontractors to assess the effectiveness of the suppliers quality system in providing safe ingredients or products. The supplier may lose its customer if they do not agree to their audit.
- Third party audits are done on a primary organisation by an external and independent body (called a certification body) who use their experience and expertise to audit the feed or food company and provide certification of compliance against a stated standard. This independent audit and certification of the quality management system from a third party is a used as an important method to show due diligence and/or as a marketing tool.
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Introduction to Food Science
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