Quality Assurance Programmes for Food Industries

Article excerpt

The creation of a Quality Assurance Operation is very significant step, taken by many Food Manufacturers during the past several years. English Biscuit Manufacturers (Pvt) Limited and Coronet Foods (Pvt) Limited leading Biscuit and Wafer manufacturers are among the most prominent industries working hard to implement above Phenomena and also ISO-9000, to further assure customers and consumers that their products are produced, packed and distributed with great care, to safeguard wholesomeness and integrity.

Quality Assurance involves analysis and progressive refinement of product formulas and procedures - indentifying and acting upon detectable causes of veriability - before poor Quality products can be produced. in other words, Quality must be designed into the product, it can not be injected into the product. In order to meet management's aspirations a Quality Assurance System must fulfil the following requirements:-

1) General: To understand the process of maintaining Control of Quality, one must start at the beginning, the development of the product and the process. All scientific information pertaining to ingredient composition, component interaction, component stability, product - container interaction and product quality, must be used in the development of a product. Specifications must be prepared for ingredients and procedures must be developed for processing.

2) Sanitation: There must be adherence to sanitation standards, and subsequent compliance with regulations concerning "Good Food Manufacturing Practices." This includes plant and storage pest control. It also includes plant, storage and equipment sanitation, sanitation in the sense of visual cleanliness, freedom from infestation, and microbiological cleanliness.

3) Uniformity of Specifications: There should be adherence to specifications for ingredients, packaging and finished products. The specifications must be well designed, they must be attainable and acceptable to the vendors, with well-understood methods of sampling and evaluation.

4) Procedures: Formulas and procedures are usually developed by the Research Department and placed into a standard format by a 'Product Standards' division of Quality Assurance and distributed to the plants. In this way a plant will follow the same instructions all of the time.

5) Label Compliance: Management should expect that the Quality Control function is auditing compliance with label statements and requirements organoleptic variables such as colour, flavour, texture and configuration are being controlled within their pre-established limits. Management has a right to expect that they are getting maximum cost-effective protection from consumer dissatisfaction and that programmes .are in force to reduce defects, and other causes of substandard product.

6) Process Control: Each Food, depending on critical factors such as the nature of the product, its density, and the size of the container, requires different equipment and operations for product preparation and processing. This includes control of contamination by applying strict principles of sanitation, and by preventing the growth of microorganisms in processing equipment. To be sure that any finished processed food is "fit for use" management expects Quality Assurance to audit the following general aspects of the product and its process:

a) Physical, Chemical, Microbiological, and Organoleptic characteristics of all ingredients. …