Producing a food supply that is safe and of good quality is a prerequisite to the successful domestic and international trade in food and a key to sustainable development of national agricultural resources. All consumers have the right to expect and demand safe, good-quality food.
Food control can be defined as the mandatory regulatory activity of the enforcement of food laws and regulations by national or local authorities to provide consumer protection and ensure that all foods during production, handling, storage, processing and distribution are safe, wholesome and fit for human consumption; conform to safety and quality requirements; and are honestly and accurately labelled as prescribed by law.
Laboratory quality assurance
In supporting food control systems, the role of food and feed testing laboratories is essential in ensuring compliance with national regulations and international requirements in all areas of food safety and quality.
Since the late 1990s, Codex and the European Union have recommended (or required) that laboratories responsible for controlling the export and import of foods comply with an internationally recognized standard such as ISO Standard 17025 (General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories), and be accredited by a certified body.
The systematic application of laboratory quality assurance measures helps ensure that food control laboratories produce reliable analytical results. These measures include having an adequate laboratory infrastructure, up-to-date documentation, well-trained personnel, appropriate and calibrated instrumentation and using of internationally recognised and validated methods.
Method performance can be demonstrated through validation procedures such as proficiency or interlaboratory studies, the use of reference materials, and the application of statistical evaluation techniques. The application of laboratory quality assurance measures like these can both help identify problems in analysis and facilitate the application of suitable corrective actions.
see also our product Hygiene Monitoring System 2011