The Difference between Food Safety and Food Quality Explained

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Many people think Food Safety and Food Quality is the same thing. Although closely related, there is a difference between Food Safety and Food Quality requirements in a food-handling environment. The one keeps consumers safe and the other keep consumers happy. This sounds very simple, but there is a lot more to it.

It is important to understand these differences and be able to identify each in the workplace.

Definition of Food Safety

Food Safety refers to practices and conditions that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and food-borne illnesses during preparation, handling and storage. The correct Food Safety practices give assurance that food will not cause harm to the consumer when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended use.

**Food should be safe for human consumption and free from hazards that may compromise the health of the consumer**

Examples of Food Safety procedures and policies:

  • Personal hygiene
  • Personal presentation and preparation
  • Pest control
  • Waste management
  • Cleaning and sanitising
  • Temperature control and measurement
  • Food Safety hazard identification

These are only a few examples of Food Safety procedures that should be in place in a food-handling environment. Food Safety procedures vary from company to company and industry to industry. It is important to know what your company’s Food Safety procedures and policies are.

Definition of Food Quality

Food Quality refers to the features and characteristics of a food product that is:

  • acceptable to consumers and meet their expectations;
  • value for money;
  • conforms to the required specifications, and
  • profitable to the company.

Examples of Food Quality Attributes:

  • External factors such as appearance (size, colour, shape and consistency).
  • Texture
  • Flavour (odour and taste)
  • Correct labelling with the ingredients, nutritional information and supplier/manufacturer details listed.
  • Products must be properly packaged and sealed.
  • Ingredient standards are maintained.
  • Food quality also deals with product traceability, should a recall of the food product be required.


Food Safety and Food Quality, two of the most important aspects of any food-handling environment. It is important to know the difference and have a proper Food Safety and Food Quality management system in place. It will keep your customers healthy and happy, and you out of trouble.

ASC Consultants are experts in the implementation and maintenance of Food Safety and Food Quality management systems. Feel free to contact us for any advice or help.

You are welcome to drop us a comment below. We love to hear from our website visitors!

7 thoughts on “The Difference between Food Safety and Food Quality Explained”

  1. You have correctly explained the difference between Food Safety and Food Quality on your article, and I think that if all food manufacturers and suppliers comply with this, people will be safe and healthy as well as happy as you said.I think that some often some people sacrifice the quality and safety on quantity in order to obtain more profit for own benefits. as a result they go about immoral ways to earn more for personal gain in harm innocent people.

    I liked the the part of Food Quality Attributes ‘Correct labeling with the ingredients, nutritional information and supplier/manufacturer details listed’.

    Thanks for this informative post.I bookmark it for future references

  2. I love the explanation and distinction you’ve made between food safety and quality. I quite have an understanding between these two before now, but I’m however glad for the additional information I’ve gained here. I want to learn more about food safety in aspect of preserving it, are there any suggestions you can give to this? 

  3. Are you saying there is a chance food quality is good but may not be safe?

    Thank you for sharing as I will pay more attention when consuming food at least it has to be safe.

    Is there a standard to measure safety standards for food.

    Thank you for highlighting the differences as I am sure most of us are unaware.

  4. Ticking the two boxes of food quality and food safety should be a priority to any food business and I must say any business looking towards the long term goals should strive to maintain balance. Safety should not warrant the reduce in quality and vice versa. But left to me, I think more attention should be paid towards safety because it directly affects the health of the consumers, my view though!

  5. You’re right, food safety and food quality are definitely not one and the same. That being said, there’s no reason practicing proper food safety can’t lead to higher food quality, right? It seems to me like food quality is a bit more subjective, while there are clearly defined rules for what steps must be followed to ensure food is safe for consumption.

    • Hi Bobby,
      Thanks for leaving us a comment. If food is not safe for human consumption, it is automatically not of high quality either. On the other hand, food can be safe for human consumption, but not necessarily mean it is of high quality.

      You are right. Food safety practices are a lot easier to identify than food quality practices. The reason for this is that there are millions of different food and beverage products and each product has its own specification when it comes to food quality.

  6. Some great points on the key differences, but any reputable food business should be able to nail both sides.  Keeping food safe shouldn’t mean you should not be able to hit the food quality side as well.

    Tell me, are there food safety courses you could recommend for someone looking to ensure their business is meeting all of the criteria?



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