Food safety and food quality are two similar terms that define two diverse practices. Consequently, these terms are occasionally confused or wrongly used interchangeably. Although safety and quality go together, they should not be confused, as the components that make up a product’s quality establish its total safety.
Food quality is the external and internal composition and features of a food item. From flavor and appearance to the microbial and physical properties of a product, quality standards are defined and enforced by the government. However, quality is not merely about these characteristics, it also includes traceability for tracking products in case of an outbreak, as well as labeling to guarantee the precise ingredients and nutritional value.
Food Safety is described as the proper handling, preparation, and storage of foods that minimize the risk of foodborne sicknesses. The three main risks that pose a threat to consumers are chemical, biological, and physical contaminants. Food poisoning is 100% preventable, but because of the number of people involved in the supply chain and the variable tasks of food producers globally, it is hard to totally eliminate the risk. To close the gap between countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) released five main principles to food safety.
It is the obligation of food control systems to implement laws that safeguard consumers against unsafe foods. Since safety and quality have a direct impact on the supply chain, food control systems are expected to meet predetermined national standards.
The WHO defines food control as: “....a mandatory regulatory activity of enforcement by national or local authorities to provide consumer protection and ensure that all foods during production, handling, storage, processing, and distribution are safe, wholesome and fit for human consumption; conform to safety and quality requirements; and are honestly and accurately labeled as prescribed by law.”
The laws and regulations that guard the public health by preventing the consumption of spoiled, contaminated, and fraudulent foods are established and enforced by the government. In the US, food safety regulations are overseen by different federal, state, and local agencies. Making way for protection for the first time in over 70 years, the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in 2011, moving the FDA’s attention from reacting to contamination to preventing it.
Quality, Safety, and Control Through HACCP
In the US, food processors are required to execute a HACCP plan to regulate potential hazards throughout the product life. To verify and certify that an effective HACCP plan is being maintained and adheres to the stipulations of regulatory agencies, data loggers are usually used to track production steps where crucial control points are present.
MadgeTech data loggers ensure a product’s safety and quality from cooking and cooling to shipping and storage. The data gathered can then be used to easily prepare reports demanded by food safety inspectors to verify compliance.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by MadgeTech, Inc.
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