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Food Quality Assurance

Quick Guide: Improve Food Quality Assurance & Safety in Manufacturing

Comply with industry standards for top-notch food quality assurance. How does standardization ensure efficient production and safety for your business?

2 minutes read
Published on 15 February 2019 Updated on 20 April 2023

Quality assurance is a crucial aspect of any industry. However, quality assurance is EXTRA crucial in the food and beverage industry, where end-users' health can be seriously affected if quality is not on par with standards.

Let's focus on the best practices for food quality assurance, step by step. 

5 steps to food quality assurance


Step 1. Consistency.  

  • Remember that implementing a food quality assurance program must be done daily and consistently to achieve the desired outcomes.
  • It's not a one-time fix, but an ongoing progress that should be engrained in the culture and way-of-working of your organization.

Think about: How can quality assurance consistently stay top-of-mind? Storytelling usually works very well. 

Tip: Instead of "horror stories" of when things went wrong, try to tell stories of situations when team members did something right to ensure food quality. 


Step 2. Expectations.  

  • The success of a food quality assurance program largely depends on setting realistic expectations for the entire HSEQ team. 
  • Cost of quality (COQ): The cost of quality includes failures in-house and across the product value chain, including appraisal and prevention costs.
  • As a rule of thumb, poor quality costs should not exceed 10-15% of revenue. Set realistic expectations for measures like cost of quality. 

Think about: Who should be driving these initiatives and setting the expectations? Who's involved? How are you managing expectations and how are they reported?

Tip: Expectations can change over time. If you're consistently not achieving your improvement goals, your expectations might be too high. However, too low expectations are demotivating, so try to strike a balance. 



Step 3. Measure.

Decide how to consistently measure your progress.

Think about:
  • What should you measure? Discuss with your team. 
  • How do you measure it? What's the process? Document it.
  • Where do you save your measurements? Make sure that it's accessible. 
  • Who's responsible for measuring? This shouldn't depend on one person. 

Tip: Quality metrics can come from various sources, including customer requirements and quality certifications.


Step 4. Assess risks.

To support a strong food quality assurance program, companies should perform a detailed risk assessment across all possible areas.

Think about:

  • Suppliers
  • Raw materials
  • Crisis management
  • Product recalls
  • Audit management
  • Traceability
  • Allergens
  • Complaints
  • Sanitation
  • Microbial control

Tip: Ask seasoned colleagues about what problems and risks they've dealt with in the past. You might come across surprising incidents.

+ Remember: history doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes. Even if something happened in the past, it probably won't occur exactly in the same way again. Think of risks in a broader 



Step 5. Mitigation.

Once risks have been identified, the next step is to establish mitigation strategies to address the highest-level risks proactively.

Think about:

Tip: By focusing on standardized work instructions and checklists, food quality assurance can be improved and maintained consistently, no matter who's performing the task at hand.


Want to learn more?

👉 SOPs for HSEQ teams: digital how-to library for safe operations. 
👉 How Frontline Teams Improve Product Quality and Avoid Recalls.
👉 VIDEO: How Coca-Cola manages safe and stable processes.
Coca-Cola HSEQ


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Chris loves to share his expertise on future-proof work instruction software for frontline teams in manufacturing. Particularly, how digital, visual work instructions can make a lasting impact on motivation, productivity, and operational excellence culture.

Published on 15 February 2019