Management of Food Quality
Every business company has the aim of realizing profits through satisfying the customers' needs. The innovative low fat sandwich is one of the food products that is bound to attract numerous consumers in Germany and in the entire European Union. However, the quality assurance manager is responsible for assurance that the sandwiches meet the food standards of the European food standards authority EFSA as suggested by EFIC (2006). The authority emphasizes on the importance of following the farm to fork approach during food production. This is done to help to reduce and curb the prevalence of transmissible and infectious diseases from animals to humans. The farm approach acts by regulating food standards at every point in food chain, which results into improvement of food safety. Percy (2009) explains that Europe has several and different food cultures and eating habits; however, the farm approach transcends the different borders, with a single aim of food hygiene, safety and quality.
The assurance manager is accountable for understanding the origin of the product the company produces. The initial sources of the ingredients which are used to make the sandwich are vital in food industry. In case with the animal, the meat should undergo inspection to ensure there are no instances of infection. Causing illnesses to the consumers is the last thing a company would want to be sued for; therefore, it is essential to be aware of the source of ingredients. In case with plants, serious inspection for any form of infections or transmissible diseases as asserted by Crowley should be done (2007). Most people today are far separated from the sources of food they consume. Being aware of the connection between health and food, particularly the sandwich will enable the company to succeed. The safety of the consumers comes first in food production.
Safety during Farming
Most food ingredients come from farming, which can be organic or biological. Farming is preferred since the food is assumed to be natural; however, some microorganisms, toxins and chemicals naturally occur the food, thus, making it not healthy as explained by Cecere et al., (2008, p. 21). Quality aspect of food starts from the genetic potential of the animal reared or plant grown. A full genetic potential is required for the plants and animals, and this is possible through matching the plants and animals in natural environments. The genetic potential is later seen in the phenotype of the animal or plant product, for instance, the color, taste, size. The care for the plant and animal at its origin ensures that the consumer will be supplied with food products of high quality, safe, and free from fungi, insects, chemicals or toxins. European Commission (2004, p. 04) explains that apart from food quality at the original farming area, food safety must also be considered, where absence of microorganisms and chemicals should be determined. These safety precautions must be taken before beginning the processing so as to prevent the long term or short term harmful effect on the health of the consumers. Products must be produced in similar safe manner. Considering the pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics used during raring and planting forms are the parts of the food safety approach. Quality assurance requires being aware of the environment an animal or plant grew in, and safety investigations which are necessary before using the product from the farm.
Food processing is performed in most parts of the EU to make food available all the time. It is also utilized as a preservation method. Consumer safety is a vital aspect of food processing to the company. The consumers, who are confident of the safety of food, will build loyalty. The low fat sandwich company is bound to succeed and obtain profitability through creation of consumer loyalty. For the quality assurance manager, it is vital to always eliminate microbes in food that may result into diseases as it is illustrated in FAO/ WHO (2010, p. 31). It is also substantial to prevent the multiplication of the microbes as well. Preservation is a second step during food processing to enhance food safety.
Preservation is done to maintain the smell, taste, feel and appearance of food being processed. This step can also include prevention of spoilage to enable consumption at any time. Preservation basically involves inactivation of natural processes in foods, for instance, oxidation, microbial action and enzyme action as suggested by EFIC (2006). These processes can make the food stay fresh and consumable. Through processing, food safety and quality is also enhanced by preservation of natural nutrients and increase of other nutrients, like vitamins. Some food can also be made digestible, making it safer to consume than if unprocessed. Proper standards should also be followed in order to ensure quality and safety of products which are produced. For example, good manufacturing practice should be practiced, where the appropriate processing procedures and conditions are followed to ensure delivery of quality and consistent long term products.
Macias (2010, p. 12) asserts that following hazard analysis aims at preventing any occurrence of defects during processing and after the production. Adherence to the quality assurance standards that have been established by the European Standards (ES 29000) and the International Standards Organization (ISO 9000) will ensure the success if if the company follows the prescribed and documented processing procedures. Following all these prime quality assurance systems, the sandwich company is bound to fully realize its profits and serve numerous consumers. According to Crowley (2007) the company, which is processing foods should protect the environment. It is achievable by using recyclable packaging materials. Food safety and quality is also achievable through proper packaging, for example, shelf life of the product is maximized by using packaging material that acts as a barrier to microbes, water vapor and air. The materials should also be able to retain the preservative moisture and gases to maintain its freshness and safety. Significant information about the sandwich ingredients must be labeled on the package material, including the dates of expiry and manufacture. The required storage temperature can help consumers to store the sandwich appropriately as explained by European Commission (2004).
During processing, safety measures also involve the use of personal protective equipment, where the workers have to wear appropriate clothes from overalls to head gear to prevent further contamination as shown by Cecere et al., (2008, p. 36). The safety of the workers is another reason for wearing the protective clothes.
Transport and Storage
Maintaining quality standards is crucial during transportation and storage of processed foods. For transportation and storage of sandwiches, the company must follow the European Union's legislation regulating the preservation of safety and hygiene of foods during transportation and storage. The international standards include the chapter of safety addressing the same as explained by EFIC (2006). Transportation and storage concentrates on the appropriate temperatures, humidity, atmosphere and handling conditions the food products are subjected to. Depending on the ingredients of the food, storage and transportation varies, with the environmental factors. FAO/WHO (2010, p. 09) argues that the professionalism put in transportation and storage of foods, and the effectiveness of the used procedures play a significant role at ensuring the high quality of the food, which reach the table of the consumer.
Safety at the Consumer Level
Most consumers assume that the processed foods are healthy and safe only after passing all the quality assurance standards in the company. However, foods can be safe and of high quality, but get contaminated at the consumer level. Therefore, food safety is a shared responsibility of the producers and the consumers as asserted by Macias (2010, p. 29). Consumers also need to store, transport and prepare the food before the consumption. Certain precautions need to be taken during such activities. Otherwise, food can go rancid and cause the diseases. Wrong handling of processed foods by consumers can cause proliferation of microbes, thus contaminating the food. Wrong preparation of the food can also cause cross contamination between cooked and raw food. Therefore, the low fat sandwich company has to educate the consumers on the best ways of handling the sandwich in order to prevent cross contamination before consumption as suggested by Crowley (2007). According to safety standards, it is essential to store the sandwich in the refrigerator. Other safety precautions must be included on the sandwich label for the consumers to follow.
Human safety with regards to food is a substantial aspect of life. Most food companies and industries in the European Union have to follow stipulated safety standards to meet the consumer needs. Meeting the consumer desires means that a company is profitable and can gain consumer loyalty. As a sandwich company quality assurance manager, safety and quality standards must be the part of the food production chains. Safety of food must be a priority from the farm, where the ingredients for the sandwich grow, till the time when sandwich reaches the table of the consumer. Safety standards aim at getting rid of any component of the food product that may cause transmissible or infectious diseases to the consumers.