Quality is an aspect that is important to every sector, but quality control in the food industry is especially crucial because of the impact it can have on the health and lives of millions. As per reports from The Business Research Company, the global food and beverages market is expected to grow to $7,942.08 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 5.8%.
Owing to the size of the industry, food safety and quality assurance are strictly regulated by industry guidelines and the law of food manufacture, distribution and sale.
Companies should adopt a holistic approach when it comes to quality. ISO 9001 is a well-known quality standard respected by companies and consumers across the globe. The laws in place help to a great extent in preventing health hazards and fraud to customers.
Selling adulterated, filthy or contaminated food is a criminal offense making it imperative for companies in the food sector to consistently maintain adequate quality standards.
People only buy from food companies that they perceive as good for themselves and their families. A single mistake in food safety and quality assurance can harm the reputation or brand image removing trust from the equation.
What is quality control in the food industry?
Food is something that can directly affect the health and well-being of people and so quality has to be ensured in every stage of production. The main goal of food quality control procedures in this industry is to make it fit for human consumption and to meet industry guidelines and customer needs.
Before we talk about the importance of food quality control, it is necessary to know the difference between quality control and quality assurance in this industry. Quality control is different in every sector and is highly dependent on the product.
In the case of food or beverages, quality control is to make sure that consumers do not fall sick from the products. For this samples are taken from the production line for performing different types of chemical or microbiological tests. Whereas quality assurance is what checks in detail if the product matches the labeling and if the correct processes are consistently used to make the products.
Importance of food quality control
Quality control in the food industry is a very dynamic and challenging aspect because the sector deals with sensitive products. Quality issues can lead to unhappy customers, profit losses, huge wastage and product recall as well. It is crucial for every food business to comply with important food quality control procedures and to never overlook food safety.
Apart from making sure that your consumers never fall ill from the intake of your food products, here are the other reasons that ascertain the importance of food quality control:
- To help control and reduce production costs or even extra expenses arising from refunds, recalls, compensations or lawsuits.
- To ensure that people trust your products and that your brand image is boosted.
- To increase sales that can come from high demand and better brand reputation.
- To improve production methods in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
- To ensure all your employees are on the same page with regard to quality and their morale is enhanced.
How to ensure food safety and quality assurance?
In the food industry, the scope of quality assurance and food safety is much more extensive when compared to quality control. Quality assurance can involve a range of quality control activities like inspection, testing or monitoring of the products along with the additionalsteps required to steer clear of food safety hazards or serious quality issues.
Food quality should be ensured across all stages like development, production and distribution. For this, the procedures must be carefully planned and meticulously designed with an idea of the likely problems at every step of the process.
Food safety and quality assurance can be ensured using both reactive and proactive methods. Proactive or preventative quality control prevents production aberrations and can include inspection of machines or equipment, employee training on the quality standards, and regular maintenance of tools used in production. Proactive methods can help to improve
overall product quality and also foresee issues at early stages before they turn into costly mistakes.
Quality control in the food industry can also be done with reactive methods. Quality-related issues should be identified and acted upon quickly before long-term damage is done to the brand image. This can be made possible with regular audits, up-to-date customer feedback records and a system to track and correct defects. Having a detailed record of data pertaining to past issues can also be helpful for future improvements to production
Key food quality control procedures
Quality control in the food industry has a direct impact on customer satisfaction, company reputation and also on the company’s bottom line. Here are some of the basic food quality control procedures that are commonly used in the food industry:
Ingredient specifications – The quality of the ingredients used is critical to making sure that the finished product meets quality standards. Check the purity, identity and moisture content of raw materials and the condition and place they are sourced from.
Approved supplier list – The supplier list for raw materials with ingredient name, supplier name, address and code number should be regularly updated and reviewed.
Incoming goods inspection – Inspect the raw materials visually and for moisture content and pH levels, when they arrive at the manufacturing facility to make sure all specifications are met.
Production formulation – Maintain a detailed list of ingredients, ingredient code, percentage formula, batch yield and effective dates as references for future product development—also, necessary to ensure product consistency.
Manufacturing procedures – In this procedure every detail of how the product is manufactured and how the ingredients need to be transported or stored is recorded.
The standard operating procedures should be followed exactly to avoid quality
In-process records – In-process records aims to track every single production detail in real-time, so issues can be identified easily and the finished products can meet every specification required. Everything from weight, time, batch size, appearance, moisture level, etc. are recorded.
In the food industry, maintaining the highest standards of quality is crucial for companies to stay relevant and ahead of their competitors. Food manufacturing companies are always looking to improve their quality control practices with the latest technologies across their operations and supply chain. Implementing the right checks at an earlier stage can save a lot of time, money, effort and resources in the long run. Doing this can also help streamline your production processes on the whole.
Third-party inspection companies like Global Inspection Managing have a good
understanding of the importance of food quality control. We have got years of food inspection expertise under our belt, and are well-known for our efficient and detailed inspection service on a global scale. We offer specially-tailored food inspection services for fresh produce, seafood, meat & poultry and beverages.
For food inspection, we strictly adhere to the ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 (ISO 2859-1), an international sampling process, and the rules set out by the World Health Organisation’s Food Code (also known as the Codex Alimentarius). Global Inspection Managing also offers rapid food analysis services and regular laboratory testing and certification contracts for foodstuffs at all stages of their life cycle.