Food Quality Compliance Testing: Whose Responsibility Is It?

Written by Assure Cloud - AssureCloud Team
3 Jun 2022

Imagine you’ve just sent out a batch of products to be sold in retail, only to find out there was
significant spoilage and somebody has been harmed. It’s a frightening thought, not only because of
the consequences you may face but because of the safety of those who have already purchased that
product.

Who is responsible?

It is believed that the responsibility of doing food quality compliance testing rests mainly with the
food manufacturer. In reality, every stakeholder within the supply chain is responsible; from
distributors, manufactures and retailers to regulatory bodies.

While all stakeholders have an important role to play in ensuring food quality and safety, it is not a
consumer’s responsibility to remove dangerous substances from products, it’s the Manufacturers.

As a manufacturer you should ensure that the food you produce complies regulations and standards.
It is crucial to follow the rules that are in place Food should not contain Bacteria or Chemical in
excess of the stipulated limits set out within the regulations and standards; and should also not
contain any foreign matter which could place consumers at risk.

What makes it more pertinent is that you have consumers depending on you to keep them safe. It is
your public duty as a business operating in the food supply chain to ensure that your products are
safe for consumption.

Digging Deeper into your responsibility

The responsibility of doing food quality compliance testing for all your products may seem like a lot
of work and effort. But if you really think about it, your brand depends on it. It’s all about brand and
reputation. If reputation is tarnished, the company is too. When this happens, production decreases,
jobs are lost and ultimately lives can be lost as well.

People operating within a food environment must have an understanding of where they fit in, in
keeping the public safe. If they do not have a grasp on the impact they have on the wider public, in
the actions that they take on a daily basis, they will face massive ramifications.

Challenges in the food quality compliance testing space

In taking on the responsibility of food quality compliance testing, there are two main challenges
you’ll face.

The first is the cost. This one, unfortunately cannot be avoided. However, spending the money on
testing initially can save you a lot of money down the line. The cost of legal fees and product recalls
can be enough to take your company down, if something should happen to harm the public.

Second is the need for an accredited provider of food quality compliance testing. It is well known
that when companies choose a service provider, they need the provider to be accredited.

When a brand is in question and they need to appear in court – because of contamination, for
instance – they need to show that they have tested the products and have used an accredited lab. If
the lab is not accredited, they don’t have a legal foot to stand on.

While it may be easier and more cost effective to opt for a testing lab that is not accredited, it is not
worth the potential reputational damage and cost implications that may arise.

How to approach the responsibility

As a business operating in South Africa, it is best to first take a top-down approach (from a CEO
down to the delivery drivers).

Everyone within the value chain has their role to play. People in management positions need to
understand the technical aspects, people in the production line need to follow Good Manufacturing
Practices (GMP’s). If you really think about it, if even one thing goes wrong in the entire value chain
it affects the consumer.

Food safety needs to be a culture in the business for it to really stick. This needs to be fostered from
the CEO downwards.

The second point of focus is to build a team to take care of food safety and food quality compliance
testing. Ultimately, in a business, it falls down to the responsibility of the quality team to ensure that
everything is safe and up to standard. There should be teams employed by businesses whose only
priority is to take care of every single aspect of safety in the production line.

Take responsibility

To ensure that you continue to hold the trust of consumers, food quality compliance testing is a
must. Not only do their lives depend on it, but your brand depends on it too. Contact AssureCloud to
take a step towards better food quality.

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