Food quality is a concept often based on the organoleptic characteristics (e.g., taste, aroma, appearance) and nutritional value of food. Producers reducing potential pathogens and other hazards through food safety practices is another important factor in gauging standards. A food's origin, and even its branding, can play a role in how consumers perceive the quality of products.
Consumer acceptability of foods is typically based upon flavor and texture, as well as its color and smell.
The International Organization for Standardization identifies requirements for a producer's food safety management system, including the processes and procedures a company must follow to control hazards and promote safe products, through ISO 22000. Federal and state level departments, specifically The Food and Drug Administration, are responsible for promoting public health by, among other things, ensuring food safety. Food quality in the United States is enforced by the Food Safety Act 1990. The European Food Safety Authority provides scientific advice and communicates on risks associated with the food chain on the continent.
There are many existing international quality institutes testing food products in order to indicate to all consumers which are higher quality products. Founded in 1961 in Brussels, The international Monde Selection quality award is the oldest in evaluating food quality. The judgements are based on the following areas: taste, health, convenience, labelling, packaging, environmental friendliness and innovation. As many consumers rely on manufacturing and processing standards, the Institute Monde Selection takes into account the European Food Law.
Food quality in the United States is enforced by the Food Safety Act 1990. Members of the public complain to trading standards professionals, [specify] who submit complaint samples and also samples used to routinely monitor the food marketplace to public analysts. Public analysts carry out scientific analysis on the samples to determine whether the quality is of sufficient standard. It is an important food manufacturing requirement because food consumers are susceptible to any form of contamination that may occur during the manufacturing process.
Food quality also deals with product traceability, (e.g., of ingredient, and packaging suppliers), should a recall of the product be required. It also deals with labeling issues to ensure there is correct ingredient and nutritional information. It is an important food manufacturing requirement, because food consumers are susceptible to any form of contamination that may occur during the manufacturing process. There are also sanitation requirements because it is important to ensure that the food processing environment is as clean as possible in order to produce the safest possible food for the consumer.
Many consumers also rely on manufacturing and processing standards, particularly to know what ingredients are present, due to dietary, nutritional requirements (kosher, halal, vegetarian), or medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, or allergies).