Quality Management in Spice Paprika Production as a Synergy of Internal and External Quality Measures

Spice paprika is a major spice commodity in the European Union (EU), produced locally and imported from non-EU countries, reported not only for chemical and microbiological contamination, but also for fraud. The effective interaction between producers’ quality management practices and government and EU activities is described on the example of spice paprika production and control in Hungary, a country of leading spice paprika producer and per capita consumer in Europe. To demonstrate the importance of various contamination factors in the Hungarian production and EU trade of spice paprika, several aspects concerning food safety of this commodity are presented. Alerts in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the EU between 2005 and 2013, as well as Hungarian state inspection results on spice paprika in 2004 are discussed, and quality non-compliance claims regarding spice paprika among EU member states are summarized in by means of network analysis. Quality assurance measures established along the spice paprika production technology chain at the leading Hungarian spice paprika manufacturer, Kalocsai Fűszerpaprika Zrt. are surveyed with main critical control points identified. The structure and operation of the Hungarian state food safety inspection system is described. Concerted performance of the latter two quality management systems illustrates the effective interaction between internal (manufacturer) and external (state) quality control measures.