Quality control in the food industry:
what is it and how is it performed?

A quality control in the food industry is formed by plans that reflect the different actions necessary according to the different production phases and manufacturing lines to ensure the quality of your product. All of them must comply with certain requirements and / or parameters to ensure that the quality result is optimal.

The robustness of this process, the prevention and total elimination of risks, as well as its efficient and economical management , can only be guaranteed with a food industry MES system and with competent and specialized quality control software that ensures that quality is not dependent on people and that guarantees that the appropriate control plan is executed in form, content and time. 

However, we recommend that you continue reading the article to have a more extensive vision of this fundamental area in any food industry.

What is food quality control?


Quality control in the food industry is a process carried out to check that each food complies with a set of characteristics that make it suitable to, as the International Organization for Standardization(ISO) puts it, "satisfy real needs, explicit or implicit".

In the case of food quality control, this also applies to the internal properties of the product, the technological treatment and its wholesomeness.

In short, it can be defined as the systematic verification that a product complies with the quality standards established by the company. And it will be carried out before, during and after its manufacture. For this to happen, food quality technicians are needed, as well as a person in charge with scientific training, for example, a food technologist.

Food quality control is also based on a wide variety of parameters: chemical, technological, nutritional, sensory, microbiological, physical, etc.

The nature of the quality controls required in the factory are wide and varied and range from attribute type controls (OK/NOK), to controls that assess compliance with certain critical or non-critical variables (measurement within defined tolerances), effective content, text verification, quantity verification, line clearance (free of cross contamination), etc. 

All those that make up the control plan shall be carried out following the appropriate control method and with the defined frequency to minimize the risk of nonconformity.

Why is quality control important in the food industry?

Quality control and processes in the food industry ensure the safety of raw materials, semi-finished and final products and therefore their food safety. If not carried out correctly, foodstuffs can cause adverse health effects.

  • There are physical risks: due to poor handling practices, processing defects or contamination of the raw material.
  • Chemicals: due to the use of unsuitable added chemicals.
  • Microbiological risks: due to the presence of bacteria, viruses, fungi, prions and others.

Illnesses caused by the ingestion of contaminated or spoiled food or food with poor quality controls can seriously affect any person.

The only way to prevent this from happening is with a reliable quality control with no margin of error. Usually carried out thanks to a specialized MES system and the knowledge of professionals, who execute corrective actions for any non-conformity detected in the process.

Quality control in the food industry is improving:

  • Food safety and traceability
  • Trust and customer satisfaction
  • Competitiveness

And some of the steps to eliminate complications that can lead to poor quality food are: monitoring the supply chain, implementing strict hygiene measures, following proper sanitation methods, identifying the causes and more.

How is analysis and quality control performed in the food industry?

Every company or every food company divides the tasks into a number of exact stages . Within each of the different stages there may be one, two or multiple actions in relation to each other. All of them are part of the food quality control process and are indispensable.

This is one of the ways in which the quality control process can be divided in the food industry.

  • Raw material control: in any quality control in the food industry there is a process exclusively dedicated to raw materials. These are the basis of a quality product for the consumer.
  • Hazard analysis: The objective of this phase is food safety. It is usually an intermediate phase. This food quality control in Spain is mandatory and is crucial to include safety levels.
  • Product quality control: For some years now, this process has been carried out by new technologies and even artificial intelligence. And it is quite advantageous that it is done by machines because for the human eye it can be exhausting and it is also quite subjective.
  • Logistics monitoring: this is one of the last phases and must also comply with different requirements, one of them for example is to maintain the cold chain or the time in which shipments must be made.
  • Equipment management: the machines that are part of the quality control in the food industry are a key factor and therefore must have the best performance, latest technologies and periodic controls. A large part of the process depends on them.
  • Audits: All food industry factories must be externally audited. In this way, they obtain the necessary certificates. At the same time, internal audits are carried out, i.e. the company itself carries out a monitoring and analysis process. In this way they can know the quality of their products and establish relevant improvements, changes and so on.

Parameters to be considered

To determine whether the food quality control has been correct, some parameters must be evaluated.


Quantitative properties:

  • Fiber content
  • Protein content
  • Peroxide content
  • Sugar content
  • Free fatty acid content

Sensory properties:

  • Texture
  • Aroma
  • Color
  • Taste

Thanks to these attributes, standards are established that must be approved in quality control. All these standards are set out in laws, rules and regulations.

Quality control systems in the food industry

But how is it possible to control all phases so that the result is as expected? The best way to ensure that the final products meet the requirements and parameters from start to finish is with an advanced control and management system.

A method capable of preventing, managing and correcting every single action and its results in an efficient and cost-effective way is only possible with real-time factory control and management software.

At MESbook we have an advanced quality control system for the food industry, capable of adapting to companies of all sizes. MESbook is flexible in the definition of control plans and actions, always ensuring quality standards and processes, guaranteeing the efficient and robust management of the quality system of any company.

And also the control and monitoring of quality results in real time providing the user with the necessary objective information to launch corrective actions in case of any non-conformity. We also have quality control systems in the pharmaceutical industry and in many other sectors. Ask us without obligation.

Concepcion Albert

Assistant to Commercial Management

Concepcion Albert

Industrial Engineer with more than 15 years of experience in leadership and operations management, developed in the UK and Spain in the food industry and others. Used to train, lead and motivate teams oriented to the achievement and attainment of objectives within a culture of Continuous Improvement, as well as the creation of new business areas.

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