Food is a key factor responsible for population health, nutritional condition and productivity. As a result, it is critical that the food we eat be nutritious and safe. Unsafe food can cause a variety of foodborne illnesses.

Food-borne disease is a serious public health concern across the world. Food safety and quality are crucial at home. However, they are especially important in large-scale food manufacturing and processing as well as where food is being prepared and served fresh. Maintaining quality has become increasingly important for the Food Industry in the recent decade, as a result of rising customer expectations, government restrictions and increased market rivalry. As a result, the Food Industry has been pursuing Quality Management (QM) Procedures more aggressively in the recent years. Customer loyalty was found to be influenced by “quality.”

The size of the business is critical to the performance of the Food Quality Management System (Kafel and Sikora, 2011). The most popular standardized management system in enterprises is one that complies with ISO 9001:2008 criteria (QMS). Organizations that have adopted and certified Quality Management Systems span a wide geographical area. The appeal of QMS stems from its universality and ability to be tailored to the needs of a wide range of organizations, regardless of their size, industry or legal status. (Teixeira and Sampaio, 2013)

A Quality Manual is a document that defines an organization’s Quality Management System. Its goal is to present information concisely and act as a foundation for achieving quality system requirements and demonstrate managerial commitment to a quality system. This document explains how the organization intends to run and execute the procedures in its Quality Management System. It might include regulations that impact your capacity to produce high-quality products and fulfill your customers’ and ISO’s expectations in all aspects. The organizational food handlers should be trained on how to utilize and apply the quality manual, since it is a vital guide or roadmap. The handbook must be updated on a regular basis and responsibility for doing so must be duly assigned. (Dhamija and Hammer, 1990)

A Quality Management System (QMS) is a collection of coordinated operations that drive and oversee an organization’s performance in order to continuously enhance its effectiveness and efficiency. Food quality is a complicated notion that can only be evaluated in terms of food safety. A food must meet statutory standards, technological criteria, hygienic requirements, transport and handling requirements, trade circumstances and satisfy its intended use in order to be regarded safe for eating.

The relationship between quality and safety is complicated and while safety cannot be considered completely apart from quality, the intricacy of both ideas necessitates its management independent of each other. In reality, the motivation for separating food safety from quality was to prioritize the idea of safety over all other characteristics of quality.

Quality Assurance Systems (QA) comprise of the precursors (GMPs, GHPs, GAPs), as well as HACCP; Quality Management Systems (QMS), which relate to ISO or TQM; and integrated systems (IS), such as ISO 22000. The system can be categorized into various categories according to the extent of activities such as Basic safety systems: preliminaries (GAPs, GMPs, GLPs, etc.); Advanced Safety Systems such as HACCP; Integrated Food Safety Management – ISO 22000; Basic Quality Management Systems – ISO 9001; Advanced Quality Management Systems – ISO 9004 (Rotaru et al.,2005).

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the ISO 9000 series as International Requirements and Guidelines for Quality Management Systems. It was first introduced in 1987 and has since gained a foothold in the global economy, with over 178 countries adopting the same, which also have over a million registrations currently.

The term “ISO 9000 family” or “ISO 9000 series” refers to a collection of process-based quality management standards (not product standards). Fundamentals and Vocabulary of ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems are mentioned in all ISO 9000 Standards. The ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems involves the requirements that must be met in order for a business to be ISO 9001 certified. ISO 9002 – ISO 9001:2015 indicates implementation guidelines. ISO 9004 – provides guidelines for an organization to achieve long-term success by establishing a set of principles required for maintaining a successful QMS through review and performance improvement. (Avanesov, 2009)

When a company wants to show its capacity to consistently produce products and services that fulfill customer and relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, ISO 9001:2015 sets standards for a Quality Management System, strives to promote customer satisfaction through effective system application, including system improvement procedures and verification of system adherence to customer and relevant legislative and regulatory requirements. All ISO 9001:2015’s standards are general, which means that they may be applied to any business, regardless of its size, nature or goods and services. (Singels et al., 2001)

FDA recognizes “accreditation organizations” that will be responsible for accrediting third-party “certification bodies” under the Accredited Third-Party Certification programme, which is a voluntary initiative. Food safety audits and certifications of overseas food facilities will be conducted by the Certifying Agencies (FDA).

There are two uses for these certificates:

• Certifications may be used to determine eligibility for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP), which allows for accelerated food evaluation and entry.

• FDA has the authority to demand certification of an imported product in rare and specialized instances, in order to prevent a potentially dangerous food from entering the United States.

Under the Accredited Third-Party Certification Program, accreditation organizations must:
• Assess third-party certification bodies to see if they may be accredited. Observing a representative sample of the applicant’s work is part of this;

• It keeps track of the certification bodies it recognizes and accredits. Any change in or withdrawal of accreditations issued by accreditation bodies must be reported to FDA;

• Examine and repair any shortcomings in the accreditation body’s performance;

• FDA must receive monitoring and self-assessment reports, as well as other alerts;

• Maintain and give FDA access to the records required by the programme.

There is nothing new about third-party food safety certification. The need for globally oriented credentials that is well linked with most common regional standards is growing as a result of increased globalization. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) was founded in 2000 with the goal of establishing a standard certification criterion and delivering safe foods globally via continuous food safety improvement. The board of the GFSI set out to develop food safety criteria that were consistent with International Norms. They looked at the many Food Safety Certification Programmes and decided which ones matched their needs. GFSI now recognizes over a dozen Food Safety Certification Systems for various sorts of food facilities, ranging from authorized fish farming certification schemes to certifications for food packaging production.

The British Retail Consortium Global Standards BRCGS, Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) and the Safe Quality Food Institute’s SQF are the most relevant GFSI-approved certification methods for the food business. All of these certificates create standards that are broad enough for enterprises that handle non-perishable and non-agricultural food components, yet detailed enough to assure food safety. All of these plans need ongoing improvements to food safety systems. The HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) principle is used in all three food certification programmes. HACCP is recognized by GFSI as a necessary component of a food safety programme. The food handling/manufacturing process is planned out under HACCP and dangers at each stage are recognized. To remove or decrease each phase, control points are defined. Control points are defined for each phase to remove or minimize the identified dangers to acceptable levels. A crucial control point is also created usually towards the end of the process when food safety is being monitored and evaluated.

The BRCGS food standards are centered on food safety, with a significant emphasis on process auditing. BRCGS encompasses general quality systems and product quality as well, although the focus is on activities that have an influence on food safety. A BRCGS plan is also quite prescriptive, making it challenging to match with various types of operations. A grading criterion is established as part of the certification process to assist organizations in benchmarking their processes. (Stilo et al., 2009)

FSSC 22000 is based on ISO 22000 standards, which include the ISO 22002 technical specification for food manufacturing pre-requisite programmes and HACCP. FSSC 22000 is a suitable match for businesses who already have a Quality Management System in place and it works well with ISO 9001. FSSC 22000, just as ISO 9001 focuses on the full Food Safety Management System, including management commitment, rather than just methods. (Street, 2015)

Overview of QMS:

Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management concept that focuses on increasing the quality of goods and processes over time. TQM is based on the idea that everyone involved in the production or delivery of a company’s services has responsibility for the quality of its goods and processes. Agri-food production need specialized procedures in order to attain the desired degree of quality. It’s crucial to determine how much the systems contribute to overall quality. Integrated approaches for the food industry can be undertaken by implementing HACCP, FSMS, GMP, GHP, GLP, VACCP, TACCP, etc. effectively. (Rotaru et al., 2005)

TQM refers to a set of management techniques used throughout a company to guarantee that it continuously meets or exceeds customer expectations. As a technique of continual improvement, TQM places a high emphasis on process measurement and controls.

Importance of Quality Management System

A structured system that documents processes, methods and responsibilities for accomplishing quality policies and objectives is referred to as a Quality Management System (QMS). Quality planning, quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement are the four primary components of a QMS. A Quality Management System or QMS is critical for enhancing your company’s operations and ensuring that it can satisfy client demands. Many forms of Quality Management Systems are based on ISO 9000, a framework that mandates that all business procedures be documented and that personnel adhere to them.

Benefits of having QMS in the Industry

• Improving employee morale

Members of staff must be both satisfied and motivated in order to perform properly. The creation of an effective employee/employer relationship requires clear and recognizable roles, defined training methods, management responsibility and staff transparency regarding how their responsibilities affect the success and quality of corporate operations. When workers are more motivated and satisfied, the rate of staff turnover is lower, which minimizes the need for re-hiring and re-training, which may be costly for small firms.

• Enhanced Efficiency

Businesses that receive the ISO 9001 QMS certification aspire to improve the quality and efficiency of all of their operations. Guidelines and protocols will be set for all members of staff to follow as part of the certification process. Transactions, training and troubleshooting difficulties are handled more clearly and smoothly as a consequence, resulting in less money and time spent on old and ineffective processes.

• Improved Image and Credibility

ISO 9001 is a widely accepted worldwide standard. As a result, it has replaced many earlier standards as the foundation for developing a QMS all around the world. When companies work with other companies, they frequently search for an ISO 9001 certification before entering into a collaboration. This is especially true when firms compete for positions in the public sector across many nations. The value of ISO 9001 certification in terms of marketing should never be underestimated.

• Improved Efficiency for Decision Making

A key component of a QMS is the requirement to make decisions based on evidence. Resources can be better deployed to address areas of improvement, wherein, efficiency and cost savings can be gained by determining outcomes based on evidence rather than ‘gut emotion.’ The employee will be able to identify how much progress has been achieved based on data, if you continuously monitor the processes that are being enhanced. (Psomas et al., 2014)

Limitations that are foreseen in the implementation of Quality Management System

Many organizations prefer to apply the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Standard, in order to decrease the number of discrepancies in their operations. Their goal is to enhance operational performance, while dealing with rising market demands to deliver innovative goods and solutions as well as stakeholder pressures to incorporate new organizational practices. The quality concept mandates collaboration between staff members and managers from all organizational divisions to find and fix quality issues in a firm. All organizations should be aware of these obstacles prior and throughout the implementation of the Quality Management Systems in order to deal with them appropriately and ensure the introduction and maintenance of the quality standards. The common challenges seen in the implementation of Quality Management System has been described below (Sharif, 2005):-

Lack of dedication, engagement, leadership and support from the Top Management

One of the key elements influencing the successful implementation of QMS is the support from top management. In fact, it is the responsibility of assistants to encourage top management to involve them in their responsibilities, since there may not be a direct link between the final product quality and the commitment of top management.Quality Management

The discussions to ensure the quality of final product should begin at the top and work their way down to lower levels of management. Leaders ought to act rather than only speak. To make leadership a reality at all levels; they must undergo conceptual and structural transformation. In addition to daily administration, the executives must deal with significant resource decisions and new orientations. The commitment of top management motivates various employee grades like managers, overseers and staff members to invest more completely in the specific components for which they are accountable, boosting the influence of these components on the quality of the goods. Management must establish its duties and goals in order to commit. The awareness, expertize and conviction of top management that quality management is crucial for the organization should serve as the foundation for their dedication.

The ISO 9001:2000 standard mandates that senior management defines a quality policy including various objectives and ensure that they are being clearly communicated and understood at all organizational levels. Top management should undertake management reviews on a regular basis to assess the QMS’s effectiveness, appropriateness and efficiency in light of the organization’s performance and its quality policy and objectives. Additionally, senior management should guarantee that the tools are available for achieving quality goals.

Financial Support and Insufficient Human Resources

Key barriers to excellence include poor staff training and a lack of commitment to encourage personnel. It is acknowledged that there are not enough resources to support the adoption of QM and those activities such as employee training programmes provide challenges for businesses. To make the implementation of a QMS easier, allocation of funds by Government is necessary. The accessibility of the training process and skilled facilitators, the company and interaction between managers and staffs along with the comprehension and knowledge of the employees with regard to QM are all factors in human resource management. For an organization to be ready for change, training and education are crucial. It should happen in regular intervals after certification. Any organization’s training strategy assessment scale is determined by the accessibility of training resources, the frequency of employee training and retraining, satisfaction of employees with training and the number of employees engaging in a given training session.

Shortage of skilled employees to collect the data and analyze it for solving the problems within the firm as well as the improper organizational hierarchical structure can also adversely affect the proper implementation of QMS.

Lack of Understanding of the Standards and its Objectives for Successful Implementation

Understanding process-based thinking, process mapping and its integration are necessary for successful quality standard implementation, but these concepts are not well understood by the employees. The most important problem observed is the lack of understanding about the quality standards and its implementation process, which leads to failure in obtaining the quality standard certificate. However, the top management should educate the employees in setting up of quality standards in a firm.

When the management faces trouble meeting one or more of the requirements of the standards, three main consequences can be expected.
a) Failure to comply with QS standards;
b) Failure to recognize quality records and create controls for documentation;
c) Failure to verify product conformance.


Successful implementation of Food Safety Management System is a must in the Food Industry. A firm’s competitiveness may be viewed as a reflection of the tactics used by it to adapt to the current levels of competition in the marketplace where the company operates. Quality is unquestionably important for the food businesses, as they operate and compete in a global market place. Hence, companies must construct adequate internal structures and devize competitive strategies in order to achieve the same.


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2. Dhamija, O.P. and Hammer, W.C.K., 1990. Manual of Food Quality Control: 6. Food for Export (Vol. 6). Food & Agriculture Org.

3. Kafel, P. and Sikora, T., 2011, May. Benefits of implementation and certification of management systems in the food industry enterprises. In 5th International Quality conference.

4. Psomas, E., Vouzas, F. and Kafetzopoulos, D., 2014. Quality management benefits through the “soft” and “hard” aspect of TQM in food companies. The TQM Journal.

5. Rotaru, G., Sava, N., Borda, D. and Stanciu, S., 2005. Food quality and safety management systems: a brief analysis of the individual and integrated approaches. Agroalimentary Processes and Technologies, 11(1), pp.229-236.

6. Sharif, I.M., 2005. The barriers affecting the implementation of quality management system-ISO 9000 in Libyan manuafacturing public sector organisations (Doctoral dissertation, University of Salford).

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8. Stilo, A., Parisi, S., Delia, S., Anastasi, F., Bruno, G. and Laganà, P., 2009. Food Security in Europe: comparison between the” Hygiene Package” and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) & International Food Standard (IFS) protocols. Annali di igiene: medicina preventiva e di comunita, 21(4), pp.387-401.

9. Street, R., 2015. Particularities of FSSC 22000–food safety management system. Journal of Environmental Protection and Ecology, 16(1), pp.274-279.

10. Teixeira, S. and Sampaio, P., 2013. Food safety management system implementation and certification: survey results. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 24(3-4), pp.275-293.

About the Author:

Panoth AbhiramiPanoth Abhirami
Assistant Professor, Department of Food Technology
Nehru Institute of Technology, Coimbatore – 641105.
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An editor by day & dreamer at night; passionately involved with both print and digital media; Pet lover; Solo traveller.

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