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A simple guide to Food Quality Control

Quality management plays a vital role within the food industry, across many different stages of sourcing, processing and packaging. In addition to basic laws and regulations on nutritive value, quality levels also incorporate factors such as shelf-life, raw materials, taste, texture, use of preservatives and many other indicators too.

Quality Management System (QMS)

It is important for food manufacturers to adhere to an efficient quality management system (QMS) in order to achieve standardisation and meet the demands of consumers and authorities. When it comes to food quality, the definition can vary considerably in its use – some may use the term to define high end products such as caviar, while others may use the term in reference to basic quality of everyday items such as bread. In terms of quality control and management however, the term is used universally to ensure that all food products are processed according to strict guidelines.

Food Quality Control

Quality control (QC) is an essential component of any food processing business. The purposes of quality control are:

  • To protect the customers from dangers (eg contaminated foods) and ensure that they get the weight and quality of food that they pay for.
  • To protect the business from cheating by suppliers, damage to equipment (eg stones in raw materials) and false accusations by middlemen, customers or suppliers.
  • To be sure that food laws operating in a country are complied with.

Quality control does not have to be time consuming or expensive, and the results of quality control tests should help save money in the long run. In general, quality control procedures should be as simple as possible and only give the required amount of information. Too little information means the test has not done its job; too much information and management decisions may be delayed or confused.

Quality control is used to predict and control the quality of processed foods. It is no use producing a food, testing it to find the quality, and then trying to find a buyer for that particular batch of food. Quality control is used to predict the quality of the processed food and then control the process so that the expected quality is achieved for every batch. This means that quality specifications must be written and agreed with suppliers or sellers, and control points must be identified in the process.

Find out more about the food quality control courses, food safety training and/or quality assurance courses we offer at London TFE.