Food control is the regulation of the food supply industry and enforcement of food laws by national or local authorities. Its purpose is to provide consumer protection and ensure that all foods during production, handling, storage, processing and distribution are safe, wholesome and fit for human consumption. A food control system ensures that foods conform to safety and quality requirements and are honestly and accurately labelled, as required by law.
The scope of food control includes:
- Food safety, which refers to all those hazards that may make food unhealthy for the consumer.
- Food quality standards, which includes all other attributes that influence a product's value to the consumer, e.g. composition, labelling, etc.
Food control covers all stages of production, processing and distribution of food. It covers controls on food that is produced or imported for consumption within the region and food that is exported outside the country.
The principal objective of the national food control system is the protection of public health by protecting consumers from unsafe, unwholesome, mislabelled or adulterated food. It also contributes to economic development by maintaining consumer confidence and providing sound regulatory controls for domestic and international trade in food.