The Importance of High Quality Foods
Do you remember that one time when you were hungry and dashed into a nearby restaurant to grab a meal? Upon finishing the meal you went through your day as nothing has happened. Along the way, your tummy starts to rumble, find yourself rushing to the bathroom and in most extreme cases, find yourself in the hospital. That is a clear case of food contamination.
The above scenario would have been avoided if high-quality food had been consumed. High-quality foods consumption is one of the most important links in reducing body and food-borne illnesses.
About Quality Foods
Quality according to the 1970 Agricultural Yearbook has been defined as, “the measure and expression of goodness”. Therefore, quality foods are the highest standard of goodness in a food product that is acceptable to consumers.
There are both external and internal factors when examining for the quality standard of food. For the external part, emphasis should be placed on shape, size, color, gloss, and consistency of look and federal grade standards while for the internal part of the quality control process, chemical and microbial components need to be tested to see if it meets the high-quality standard for consumption.
There is a need to establish that institutions and food buyers have a relatively different set of standards when it comes to quality food. As far back as the 13th century, quality foods regulation were in force e.g. the King of England prohibiting the adulteration of bread and the ban on the dyeing of butter laid down in Paris in 1396.
GuideLINES AND policies for Quality Foods
Globally, there are various food stakeholders that ensure the maintenance of the high-quality foods standard across the supply food chain. From the growing, to food service to the retail stores, all bodies have certain guidelines and policies to ensure they are serving the highest quality of food products to the end consumers. They include;
Codex Alimentarius - Originally published in 1979. It is also known as the “Food Code”. It is a collection of guidelines and standard practices globally to harmonize the system and ensure fair trade practices across all member states of the WHO and United Nations with the target aim of protecting the health of consumers.
ATP Agreement - This is an agreement adopted by nothing less than 20 countries and establishes a guide for international transport of perishable foodstuffs on temperature controlled equipment across Europe. Food covered include frozen, deep-frozen and non frozen foodstuffs (milk, meat, dairy products, and fresh vegetables) that need to be transported at refrigerated temperature. As of 2016, 50 countries are guided by this agreement across Europe and Central Asia.
HACCP - This is a management system which ensures food safety through preventive measure control of biological, chemical and physical hazards through raw materials handling straight to finished product consumption. This guideline is especially recommended for juice and meat handling in the US as a form of effective approach to food safety and public health.
To meet these rigorous standards, food manufacturers must ensure that they monitor and use the best analytical techniques to examine food materials before, during and after the production process to ensure the finished products meets the appropriate standard.
From the consumer point of view, quality takes on a whole new meaning as they lack the various tools to do an objective measurement of production, processing, and distribution. The average food buyer when it comes to quality foods is more concerned about the feel, texture, odor, sound it makes and written labels. If the opportunity presents itself, the food buyer will go a step further to taste.
Questions on, how was it grown? Does the food products contain chemicals? Plus concerns of the nutritional value been lost across the factory processing of the food products are some of the concerns shared by consumers. Of all the concerns shared, color and uniformity of size tend to get most of the focus. Perhaps, consumers give these two factors way too much emphasis than needed as exterior color has nothing to do what is inside and uniform colors do not determine how good the food is.
In 2018, there was an outbreak of e.coli in a farm located in Arizona. It was due to production of romaine lettuce. Hopefully for the year 2019, the FDA is able to review this farm more often to ensure that this does not happen again.
Low Quality Foods
How about the extreme cases of health from low-quality consumption. Low-quality foods can exact a toll on the quality of life, reducing productivity and increasing medical costs. Five broad categories associated with low nutritional intake and low-quality foods include;
Chronic diseases such as hypertension, CVD and Type II Diabetes
Microbiological food-borne illnesses
Chemical food-borne illnesses
It is important to ensure that as a consumer, you are taking high-quality foods. One of the ways to know this is to ensure that the food being consumed has a food safety certification. A product certification shows that a food product has been thoroughly evaluated and meets all important national and international standards. The seal signifies that it meets the high-quality foods standard and has passed all the necessary tests on safety and fitness of use.
Quality foods vary in shape and form. A high-quality food should specify information on proteins, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and water all in the right proportion and various components.
Why are high quality foods important in a nutshell
To stay healthy and perform everyday activities at the optimal level, consumers need to pay a closer look at what they eat. Quality foods rich in all the essential nutrients and excludes all forms of harmful chemicals will ensure that the immune system can combat any form of diseases.
With the advent of ready-to-eat meals in the 20th century. Special attention also has to be paid to shelf life, nutrient components and absence of chemicals in processed foods.
The food industry is highly competitive and food manufacturers are constantly striving to increase their market share and profits.. A food management system that lays more emphasis on the need for quality before anything else will expand the confidence of the consumer in the food brand so this should be a priority now and always.