APPROPRIATE QUALITY ASSURANCE OF FOODS
The qualify of much processed food in many developing countries
is lower than is desirable due in part to a lack of knowledge by producers
Consumer pressure, however, is increasing for high quality, affordable foods.
Evidence from many developing countries indicates that consumers are willing to
pay for good quality foods. In addition, they are likely to remain loyal to
enterprises that consistently maintain high quality in their products.
Food manufacturers who avoid adulteration and improve quality
control of their processing will increase sales, provide safer and more
attractive products for consumers, reduce food wastage and increase their
profitability. This in turn will help secure employment and incomes for staff
employed in the businesses.
Many of the technical enquiries received at ITDG from
small-scale food processors and other agencies focus on the need for improved
quality control, demonstrating that manufacturers are often willing to improve
the quality of their products but lack the knowledge and skills to achieve this.
In the future it is likely that all countries will adopt more
stringent legislation in an attempt to improve food quality, but also to erect
barriers to trade, protecting local manufacturing. This will restrict
opportunities for small- and medium-scale producers to export their products to
neighbouring countries, unless they can demonstrate that adequate quality
control procedures are being routinely followed.
In Western countries quality control procedures are increasingly
automated to reduce the number and cost of operators This usually means the use
of complex, expensive equipment and procedures that require trained and
experienced staff to operate them - both of which are not affordable by most
small- and medium-scale producers in developing countries.
It is not necessary to adopt sophisticated procedures in order
to adequately control food quality By modifying and redesigning procedures it is
possible to develop appropriate quality assurance (AQA) measures that will meet
legislative requirements using available skills at a cost that is affordable by
small- and medium-scale businesses.
Articles in future issues of Food Chain will describe practical
steps that food producers can take to improve the quality of their products and
the profitability of their enterprises.
Each article will focus on a quality assurance technique or
procedures for control of a specific product that have a low capital investment
and require skills that are within the capabilities of small-scale
entrepreneurs. It is likely that some initial investment will be required and
further training will almost always be needed and we will indicate, where
possible, what these will involve and how they can be achieved. As in other
aspects of Food Chain, we will try to give information that is as practical as
we can make it, given the varying circumstances of our readership around the
world. If you, our readers, have any quality assurance methods that you have
found work well, we would be happy to hear from you so that the information can
be shared with