Friday, August 29, 2008

My views of Quality - Food Industry

I'm graduated from The University of New South Wales, Australia in Bachelor of Science and majored in Food Science and Technology. I was really enjoyed my university years and looked forward to become a professional in Food related sectors. My most favorite subject was called Quality Evaluation and Control. Here I've learned the basic concepts of what the real meaning of Quality, such as Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Quality Management, ISO9001:2000 etc and how to apply the concepts for different type of risks. At that point, I've already set my mind to pursue my career in Food Quality Management.
Little did I wonder that in Food Industry, Quality is the most critical issues to handle. The risk is so high that require us to be innovative, creative and knowledgeable but at the same time to be firm in decision-making. Quality is about end-to-end process which started with the raw materials and only ends at the consumption point, without ignoring any single point of contacts that might be critical for the process. Therefore, HACCP become the most applicable and sought after certification in Food Industry. HACCP is stand for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, that analyzing the end-to-end process to determine the critical points of the process that will affects the overall quality. Once the critical points determined, it was analyzed for the risk levels and necessary measures to be taken. Therefore, the risk is properly handled, managed and controlled throughout the process, from preparing raw materials to the point of consumption.
Take for example, an ice cream manufacturing company. First of all, they have to make sure that the raw materials they ordered is as per specifications and not expired. Raw materials is checked against the required specification. Once the raw materials meet the specifications, they have to make sure that the equipments is cleaned and in good working conditions. The production environment must be clean, safe and free from contaminations. Then, the production process must be followed and monitored closely, from mixing, packing to hardening and so on. Transporting ice cream from factory to the customers is also need to be considered. Then, the storage of the ice cream at the customer sites must also taken into consideration up to the point of consumption. The quality is maintained and controlled throughout the food chains at the determined critical points. Missing or ignore one of the critical points might affetcs the quality of the ice cream directly and indirectly.
Now, I am working as Software QA Engineer. Though in Software Quality we don't apply HACCP principles, the concept is still applicable where Quality is starting from the beginning of the project until delivered. We use different in Software Quality as the risk management is different.

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