Food quality is the quality characteristics of food that is acceptable to consumers. This includes external factors as appearance (size, shape, colour, gloss, and consistency), texture, and flavour; factors such as federal grade standards (e.g. of eggs) and internal (chemical, physical, microbial).
Food quality in the United States is enforced by the Food Safety Act 1990. Members of the public complain to trading standards professionals[specify], who submit complaint samples and also samples used to routinely monitor the food marketplace to public analysts. Public analysts carry out scientific analysis on the samples to determine whether the quality is of sufficient standard.
Food quality is an important food manufacturing requirement, because food consumers are susceptible to any form of contamination that may occur during the manufacturing process. Many consumers also rely on manufacturing and processing standards, particularly to know what ingredients are present, due to dietary, nutritional requirements (kosher, halal, vegetarian), or medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, or allergies).
Food quality also deals with product traceability, (e.g., of ingredient, and packaging suppliers), should a recall of the product be required. It also deals with labeling issues to ensure there is correct ingredient and nutritional information.