Excellence Ireland Quality Association

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Q Mark for
Hygiene and Food Safety

The Only 100% Continuous Improvement Programme!

The Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety

The Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety is the recognised national standard in Ireland for excellence in Hygiene and Food Safety management.

The certification programme provides for an annual unannounced audit and review of a company’s commitment to high standards of hygiene and food safety, and how well they are performing in best practice food safety and hygiene. The Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety is aligned to the latest Irish, European and International standards. It is recognised by the FSAI (Food Safety Authority of Ireland) and SafeFood. The standard has been endorsed by the EOQ (European Organisation for Quality).

The Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety Explained:

The Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety is based on four key elements, all of which are linked and all of which are underpinned by continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement simply means that there is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.

The Four Key Elements:

1. Planning & Commitment

This element of the Hygiene and Food Safety Standard requires the development of policies and procedures to be communicated and implemented throughout the organisation. It requires the involvement of everyone, with a particular emphasis on the commitment and involvement of management. The consistent production of safe food under hygienic conditions requires the involvement of appropriately trained staff.

2. Performance & Review

Organisations that continue to perform well, financially and operationally, continuously review their own performance and that of their contractors and suppliers by conducting a planned programme of audits and reviews. 

3. Approach

This element of the Hygiene and Food Safety Standard covers all areas of the food handling operations, with specific emphasis on the implementation of the organisation’s policies and procedures developed to comply with the Planning and Commitment element.

4. Structure & Services

This element of the Hygiene and Food Safety Standard outlines the specific requirements for the structure of the facilities as well as the nature and type of facilities that are required for employees.

Achieving the Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety

The Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety is a national standard that reviews all aspects of a company’s performance and commitment to hygiene and food safety on an annual basis, through an unannounced independent audit completed by one of the EIQA Hygiene team.

At the end of each audit each food business is given an extensive business report, identifying the positive elements of your food safety management system and controls, as well as improvement opportunities to ensure year on year improvement.

Corrective actions may be raised to address areas of non-compliance to the technical standard and these will need to be addressed before certification is confirmed.

During subsequent annual audits, all recommendations from previous reports will be assessed to ensure that every business continues to improve their standards of operation year on year.

A food business needs to score at least 60% in the four elements as well as a minimum of 60% of the points available within the Approach element to gain certification.

There are 2 Certification levels for the Q Mark for Hygiene and Food Safety

Sapphire - Below 74% 74%
Emerald - 75 % or Above 75%

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We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have regarding Hygiene and Food Safety certification

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