Quality management is a set of policies, processes, and practices performed by the company’s workers and higher management with the end goal of achieving and sustaining a desired level of excellence. Normally, quality management involves setting up quality standards, determining objectives for reaching them, and embedding the practices for fulfilling these objectives into the processes of production, delivery, and service. The primary goal of quality management is the satisfaction of customers; therefore, it has a crucial role in achieving high profits, which is why it is an essential part of any business.
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For most of the food companies and restaurants, food safety is one of the primary components of quality management. Food safety regulations for such companies usually involve obtaining supplies from verified or local sellers, not using the products after the indicated best before date, and adhering to all the hygiene requirements for public food services. Nevertheless, there are still many companies that do not ensure proper food safety as part of their quality management process. For instance, Aspen Hills, Inc. was a cookie dough company supplying cookie dough to large ice cream companies, such as Blue Bell and Blue Bunny. The investigation against Aspen Hills, Inc. began in September 2016, when Blue Bell found Listeria in its cookie dough ice cream (Beach par. 2). The tests also showed the presence of bacteria in several other brands of ice cream, as well as in other products containing Aspen Hills’ cookie dough, (Beach par. 8). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed a thorough investigation of Aspen Hills, Inc. only to identify several violations at the company’s production facility that could have caused Listeria contamination of the cookie dough produced (Beach par. 9).
Moreover, traces of bacteria were found on several machines located in the production room, as well as in the finished product (Beach par. 13-14). An official report was provided to the company, indicating all of the issues found, as well as the propositions on how to improve operations for better food safety (Beach par. 10). Nevertheless, the response from the company was deemed inadequate: Aspen Hills, Inc. failed to provide a verified account of the revised procedures taken after the contamination was found and relied on retraining its employees, which did not contribute to solving the problem (Beach par. 19-20). Overall, despite the work of the federal officials to ensure the company’s adherence to food safety regulations, serious violations persisted, causing FDA to release the second warning letter in January 2017 (Beach par. 7). As a result of the letter, the company’s officials chose to shut down the production activity and are now looking for ways to dispose of the company in an orderly manner, or to sell the facility (Beach par. 4). Thus, Aspen Hills, Inc. became one of the most recent examples of how poor quality management can affect the company’s performance, decreasing its profitability and forcing it to exit the market.
However, some of the questions remain unaddressed by the article. First, what are the potential dangers faced by customers who consume products manufactured by companies that do not have proper food safety regulations in place? Also, how can businesses and consumers ensure that they only use products made on safe production sites? Finally, what are the procedures and methods that a company could use to tackle food safety issues effectively? Obtaining the answers to all of these questions could help to get a better insight into the topic, as well as to improve the understanding of food safety practices used in food production companies.
Beach, Coral. “Cookie Dough Company Closes in Wake of Recalls for Listeria.” Food Safety News, 2017. Web.