Quality and certification

Quality of foodstuffs is a set of features that ensure compliance of foodstuffs with the needs of a consumer and certain requirements of laws and regulations. In Europe and in the world, several globally accepted quality standards are applied that verify companies’ compliance with certain quality management systems.

ISO 9001 is the most universal and globally known standard for companies operating in any industry. Compliance with this standard shows that a company takes care of quality of their goods and services, maintains its quality management system on a certain level, regularly performs an independent audit, and verifies the efficiency of its system by a certificate. ISO 9001 is basis for a successful development.

HACCP (Hazard Analyses and Critical Control Points) - analyses of hazards and critical control points. HACCP is a self-control system for safe and harmless food chain that includes monitoring and analysis of each phase of the chain, provides food chain phases critical (hazardous) for food safety and harmlessness, and introduces efficient control and monitoring procedures for these phases. The goal of the HACCP is to ensure harmlessness (safety) and quality of food. Implementation of the HACCP system allows reducing costs for preventive measures to be taken to ensure safety of the
end product, including costs for environmental and laboratory inspections.

The HACCP system is based on seven principles that provide a sequence of actions for identification and prevention of hazards:
1. Hazard analysis;
2. Determine the critical control points;
3. Establish critical limits;
4. Establish monitoring procedures;
5. Establish corrective actions;
6. Establish verification procedures;
7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures.

GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) - a high level skill in all food manufacturing stages, with a special emphasis on stages impacting the quality of foodstuffs.

Principles of the GMP:
• To document manufacturing, evaluation, and management of the respective foodstuff ensuring the specific quality;
• To apply correct, trusted, and practically tested manufacturing methods and technologies;
• A set of correct manufacturing, evaluation, and management actions (procedures);
• Development and compliance with practical instructions (recommendations);
• Development and compliance with specific regulations;
• The developed regulations are available at the international professional bodies;
• Practical recommendations developed by professional organisations.

GHP (Good Hygiene Practice) - a set of rules with the goal to protect human life and health. General principles and
procedures have been provided in EC Regulation No.852/2004 On the Hygiene of Foodstuffs.

The main principles incorporated in the Regulation:
• Market participants involved in the food chain are the main responsible for the harmlessness of foodstuffs;
• Harmlessness of foodstuffs shall be ensured in all phases of food chain, starting with primary production;
• It is significant to retain the cold chain for foodstuffs that cannot be stored in the temperature of surrounding
environment, especially for frozen foodstuffs;
• To implement the procedures developed on the basis of the HACCP principles and to apply hygiene practice, the
responsibility of market participants involved in the food chain has to be increased;
• The best practice in all phases of food chain can help the market participants to comply with the hygiene regulations and HACCP principles.

In regards to milk processing procedure, requirements for collection and transportation of milk, storage of milk, thermal processing of milk, production of different milk products, their packaging, as well as storage of milk products, their sales and transportation have been provided. The cold chain is of significance, determining temperature for storage of milk and milk products, starting from extraction of milk to labels for the end consumer of milk products.

BRC (British Retail Consortium Global Standard for Food Safety) - a globally accepted standard developed in the United Kingdom verifying compliance of foodstuffs with the highest criteria. In the global market of foodstuffs, the BRC standard is considered as an example of best practices applicable to production of foodstuffs. It is one of the strictest standards of harmlessness of foodstuffs and quality management applied voluntarily. To obtain the BRC certificate, a company has to comply with the HACCP, has to have a documented quality management system and good production practice.

IFS (International Food Standard) - a standard certification programme developed in Germany, within the framework of which companies are certified and it is acknowledged that companies comply with the principles of harmlessness and quality requirements. Requirements of safe storage and distribution are complied with in the food storage and delivery chain, within the framework of which risks are assessed and action programmes are developed to ensure the consumers receive safe and quality foodstuffs.

FDA (Food and Drug Administration) - responsible for quality control of foodstuffs and medicines in the USA. The Administration issues compliance certificate to producers that intend to export foodstuffs to the USA thereby verifying compliance with the FDA principles and evaluation of compliance. To sell foodstuffs in the USA, the production facility has to be registered on the FDA website and obtain a registration number. The FDA assesses samples of products and clarifies their contents and harmlessness. Some ingredients that are allowed in the EU are not allowed in the USA market and vice versa. Moreover, the FDA assesses the packaging of foodstuffs in line with the FDA regulations. The FDA also controls compliance of information on the labelling of foodstuffs.