The Difference between Food Safety and Food Quality Explained

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 food quality to prevent contamination and food-borne illnesses during preparation, handling, and storage. The correct Food Safety practices assure 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 are 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!

Document Templates Toolkits

Do you want to save time compiling your company’s Food Safety Management System’s documents?

Have a look at our document templates toolkits for:

  • FSSC 22000
  • ISO 22000
  • BRC
  • GlobalG.A.P.
  • GFSI Intermediate Level
  • HACCP and PRPs

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

  1. Food Safety and Food Quality are different. However, there is overlap within any good QMS (Quality Management System). The Food Safety side is always nonnegotiable – Quality is not as black and white. Implementation of good standards will decrease Quality defects to an acceptable level. There is also a regulatory piece that supports both the Food Safety and Food Quality pillars. In my opinion consumers will repurchase because a positive experience. The price has to be right and the quality has to meet their standards. Food Safety is not up for discussion, as an industry member we have to keep all consumers safe.

  2. 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.

  3. 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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