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Food quality assurance has gained importance in the past few years with the food industry also following the quality monitoring and management system as per strict guidelines. Quality guarantee has become a necessary component of the food service business with the adoption of analysis and control systems for food safety. Hence, anybody, who is getting in to food industry or is already in to it, needs to know about the various techniques that are meant to assure the quality of food as per the laid down norms and procedures.
Customer expectations - Today the customers have become more demanding and knowledgeable. They are more concerned about the ingredients of the food products and hence maintaining optimum quality standards in food industry has become very necessary.
Environmental concerns - Nowadays, people are more concerned about the environment. Environment protection laws have also become stringent. Hence, employing environmental friendly methods in the food industry has become necessary. QA plays a big role in all this.
Organic Foods – There is more demand for organic foods because people have realized the ill effects of in-organic foods like damage to the environment and health. Hence quality monitoring and guarantee ensures that the chemicals are within the specified limits in any food product.
Technology - With the development in technology, various methods for food processing and other food related activities have emerged. These methods provide safer and higher quality food to the customers. Today all organizations related to food have to ensure good quality systems to compete in the market.
Regulatory requirements - Food being a critical element of life, the regulatory agencies have also put in place stringent requirements for its safety and quality. Here also food quality assurance
Programs help the food industry to meet these requirements consistently and deliver food that is fit for consumption.
Most of the organizations dealing with food and allied products have built their quality monitoring and guarantee systems based on requirements of standardization and analysis. This ensures that they fulfil the requirements related to food quality as well as food safety and hence give confidence to the consumers.
The standardization quality management system is focused on building the quality system through standard documentation, processes and periodic audits – internal as well as external. The corrective and preventive actions taken for closure of the non-conformities found during the audits make sure that the organizations quality system is continually improving.
The analysis makes sure that the safety aspects are taken care of through its various perquisites programs for premises and facilities, sanitation and cleaning, personnel training, hygiene and practices, pest control program, equipment program and so on. The analysis system is based on seven principles that include – hazard analysis, identifying critical control points, determining critical limits, developing monitoring procedures, developing corrective action procedures, developing verification procedures and developing record-keeping procedures.
In short, food quality assurance programs, based on the two systems of standardization and analysis, cover all the aspects related to food quality and safety such as the farming and food production, packaging and distribution and retail and catering, and hence provide confidence to the consumers.