Of all functions in the food industry, Quality Assurance (QA) requires many diverse technical and analytical skills. QA personnel continually monitor incoming raw milk and finished milk products to insure compliance with compositional standards, microbiological standards, and various government regulations. A QA manager can halt production, refuse acceptance of raw material, or stop the shipment if specifications for a product or process are not met. This department does not usually have control over the product unless something has gone wrong.
The major functions of the QA Department are:
Compliance with specifications Legal requirements, industry standards, internal company standards, shelf-life tests, customers' specifications.
Test procedures Testing of raw materials, finished products, and in-process tests.
Sampling schedules Utilize a suitable sampling schedule to maximize the probability of detection while minimizing workload.
Records and reporting Maintain all QA records so that customer complaints and legal problems can be dealt with.
Trouble shooting Solve various problems caused by poor quality raw materials, erratic supplies and malfunctioning process equipment; and investigate reasons for poor quality product to avoid repetition.
Special problems Customer complaints, production problems, personnel training, short courses, etc.
A typical QA Department may have a chemistry lab, a raw materials inspection lab, a sensory lab and a microbiology lab. All of these disciplines work together to assure that the food we consume is of the highest quality. After all, it is quality which will bring a customer back again and again.