The role of the food manufacturing industry aside from the provision of foods, also includes customer satisfaction, safety, provision of product information, and maintenance of commercial viability.
Foods are sensitive products that just a little incident can easily affect their quality, tarnish the image of the industry, and ultimately lead to profit loss. That is why the food business and industry must do all within her means to maintain standards and strictly adhere to quality requirements.
WHAT IS QUALITY?
Quality is the totality of features and characteristics of a product that bear on its ability to satisfy a given need. The attainment of quality in the food industry requires the performance of a wide variety of identifiable activities or tasks. These tasks are performed to ascertain conformance to standards. The quality of a product is the responsibility of everyone working in that industry. In as much as quality is perceived by individuals in their own way, the industry has a responsibility to consistently produce that which the market generally accepts. The quality of a food product starts from the purchase of its raw materials and the series of activities and processes in between till it gets to the ultimate consumer.
WHAT IS QUALITY CONTROL?
- A system of maintaining standards in manufactured products by testing a sample of the output against the specification.-Dictionary
- Quality control is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. ISO 9000 defines quality control as “A part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements”. Wikipedia
Quality control is the operational techniques and activities that sustain and improve the quality of a product to satisfy a given need. In the food industry,
Quality Control has a significant role in ensuring a high-quality, safe, and nutritious food supply to the public for their good health and economic benefits. Quality Control ensures that each stage of production is followed by adhering to all necessary procedures to ascertain each product coming out complies with all standards and specifications.
KEY ASPECTS OF QUALITY CONTROL
- Physical/organoleptic analyses, Chemical analyses, and Microbiological analyses of Raw Materials and Finished Goods
- Process line Checks during the Production process
- In-Process checks of Raw Materials and Packaging Materials. Release of Materials for production is done in the First In, First Out order or First To Expire, First Out order (FIFO or FEFO)
- Processing parameters such as weight, moisture content, baking time, baking temperature, etc.
- Control of Storage and handling conditions of Finished Goods
- Good Manufacturing Practice
- Good Hygiene Practice
- Waste Management
- Establishing and adhering to the HACCP plan during Production process
- Record keeping and proper Labelling
IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY CONTROL
- It encourages consciousness for consistent production of high-quality products
- Satisfaction of consumers as they get a consistent quality product
- It helps in the reduction of waste and control of production costs by undertaking effective line inspection during the production process. The check on substandard raw materials, packaging materials, and finished products helps in this regard.
- It brings about increased goodwill
- higher morale of employee as they feel they are working in the concern of producing high-quality products
- It helps to improve employer-employee relation
- It helps to improve techniques and methods in production…Use of SOPs
- It helps effective advertisement
- It helps to increase sales
STEPS TO DEVELOP A QUALITY CONTROL PROCESS
- List out your quality standards (local, international, and in-house) as it relates to your products
- Ensure all the quality standards are of great priority
- Build operational processes to ensure quality is met
- Review all results
- Get feedbacks
- Ensure improvement when the need arises.
The science of food is the science of survival, therefore, Quality Control in the food industry is to help prevent products that can make people sick or cause death when consumed. It also helps to keep the organization in business.
To this effect, quality control in food production would always oversee the ingredient specifications, reviewing the supplier lists, and ensuring the facility
where the food is produced is kept very clean. Quality control helps create a safe work environment and product safety that benefits the consumers and the company alike.