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This course on Food Quality Management has been designed to provide an introduction to the theory underpinning quality management practice in the food industry. It should be appreciated that many of the principles of quality management (often termed QM) utilised by the food industry are common to other industry sectors which means that, in essence, quality management knowledge is transferrable. An understanding of quality management theory can enable insight to the quality-related practices undertaken in many industry sectors in order to satisfy customers’ requirements. The emphasis of this course is food quality management.


The learning outcomes of the course are:

  1. Appraise the concept of food manufacture as a process comprised of systems that require control and regulation in order to make products that comply with specifications.
  2. Assess the concept of quality and implications for operating food businesses cost effectively and profitably.
  3. Evaluate the role of process control in the regulation of processes and the management of quality costs.
  4. Assess systems thinking and design as internationally recognised approaches to quality and food safety management.


The lessons will cover the following food quality management topics:

Lesson 1: Food Manufacturing as a Process

All food products, whether simple or complex, are made by processes and all processes are can be described as systems. This lesson introduces the concept of processes and systems, establishing systems thinking as a means of describing food manufacturing processes. The lesson highlights key objectives in process management and introduces the concept of the process model as fundamental to understanding the role and function of quality management.

Lesson 2: Unit Operations

All food manufacturing processes are comprised of different components which are organised in a systematic way to create a food manufacturing system. Each component has a function and the different functions can be described using the terminology of unit operations. This lesson explains the concept of unit operations. It explains how to visualise food manufacturing processes as a combination of different unit operations, providing a powerful method of visualising and analysing food manufacturing processes.

Lesson 3: Food Quality: Concepts, Definitions and Specifications

Food manufacturers must meet customers’ requirements each and every time if their businesses are to be successful, profitable and sustainable. This lesson evaluates the concept of quality and how it translates into actions that enable food businesses to meet customer requirements. It explores the role of specifications in understanding and satisfying customers.

Lesson 4: Quality Costs

Understanding quality costs, how they relate to business profitability and how they can be controlled and minimised by effective quality management is key to the operation of a successful food business. This lesson explores the concept of quality costs and explains approaches to their management.

Lesson 5: Process Control and the Control of Variation

It is a statement of the obvious to say that food manufacturing processes must be controlled if they are to deliver products that comply with specifications and meet customers’ requirements. This lesson explores the concept of process control and explains how statistical process control can be used in the management of food manufacturing processes.

Lesson 6: Weights and Measures Control

Food products intended for the consumer food marketplace are usually packaged and sold by weight or volume. The management of weights and measures is part of process control but particular methods may be used in relation to the control of packaged goods, as this lesson explains.

Lesson 7: Problem Solving and Quality Improvement

Things inevitably go wrong in food product manufacture and the opportunity for quality improvement is always present. This lesson explains how to identify, analyse and solve problems and how to use selected techniques to improve quality, reduce costs and increase profitability.

Lesson 8: Quality Management Systems

Just as food manufacturing processes are based on systems, so the management of quality in a food business ought to be undertaken in a systematic way by means of purpose designed quality systems. This lesson introduces the concept of quality management systems and explains how to develop, implement and maintain them.

Lesson 9: Food Safety Management

Consumers possess both moral and legal rights to buy and eat food that will cause no harm. This lesson explains how safe food can be secured through the development of food safety management systems based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point methodology.

Lesson 10: Total Quality Management

Quality Management concerns the manufacture of products to specification, thereby meeting customers’ requirements. In many ways it is an activity undertaken for the customer and its focus is the production process. Total Quality Management (TQM) concerns the whole business, even those parts somewhat distant from food manufacture. Its aim is continual quality improvement in all parts of the business. This lesson explains the concept of TQM and how businesses can launch themselves on the journey to continual quality improvement.