Quality assurance has specific meanings in different industries. In general, quality assurance is the term used for the various measures taken to monitor products and services to increase the likelihood of their being safe, effective, and marketable. Monitoring should be done during processing, shipment, and storage. Quality assurance managers are prominent in the food industry and in non-food industries such as pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, etc.
A safety program required by the United States Department of Agriculture focuses on the food processing system and its potential for allowing food to become unsafe. The program requires food processors to identify each point at which food may become unsafe because of too low or high a temperature, contact with harmful bacteria, etc. These points are to be identified and measured to monitor conditions of temperature, humidity, cleanliness, etc.. Documentation of the measurement is to be frequent, regular, and archived. The initials of the program are HACCP which stand for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. HACCP system of food product control is a prevention system. The focus for control is transferred from final product testing to the manufacturing process, where monitoring and control methods are applied to reduce or eliminate the possibility of contamination.
An important element in a comprehensive HACCP program is temperature control and monitoring. The requirements for temperature monitoring for certain foods and chemicals can be quite demanding. Marathon Products’ EDL temperature recorder has a reliable operating range of -40°F to +160°F [-40°C to +72°C] and its c\temp model has a range of -81°C to 72°C which is particularly needed when using dry ice as a refrigerant. A Marathon Products temperature data logger was used in a scientific test of shipment temperatures done by the government (See VACCINE 1997 Volume 15 Number 12/13, 1459-1465).
- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
- Food borne Illness Education Information Center
- Food Law and Safety site on Martindale’s Health Science Guide
- HACCP/Pathogen Reduction
- FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
- Seafood Network Information Center
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- University of Maryland on HACCP