Food safety/quality assurance | FOOD SAFETY/QUALITY ASSURANCE | University of Oregon


During implementation and assessment of the food safety and quality management system, there will be arisen different non-conformities and problems. These non-conformities and problems require corrective actions. The first stage of establishing the corrective actions is to determine the possible causes for the nonconformity or the problem.

The cause-and-effect diagram (fishbone diagram) can be used to identify many possible causes for a non-conformity or effect or problem. It can be used to structure a brainstorming session. It immediately sorts ideas into useful categories.

This assignment fulfils the following module outcome:

  • Apply the quality tools to identify the causes for a non-conformity or an effect or problem


Please review the following resources:

Web Resource


The cause-and-effect diagram (fishbone diagram)

Read the following 2 non-conformities:

  1. During the analysis of the end product lot with batch No 254, Listeria monocytogenes has been isolated from the analysed samples. The lot was still within the organization and the microorganism isolated before dispatch.
  2. A customer complain: after receiving the product with a lot No 278 and during verification analysis, Escherichia coli O157:H7 was detected. A certificate of analysis was accompanying the lot, however, this microorganism has been isolated.

After reviewing these materials, and reading these 2 non-conformities, please choose one of these 2 non-conformities and build a fishbone diagram and follow the different steps to determine the potential causes for the chosen non-conformity.

These steps include

  1. State the problem,
  2. Define the categories,
  3. Brainstorm and search each category
  4. Analyse the results.

After analyzing the causes, choose the most two causes you believe they may be responsible for the non-conformity and prepare:

  • Responsibility matrix including the causes, description, process owner and action to be taken.
  • Action plan matrix including action to be taken, who (position), time frame and resources,

N.B. Please apply the assignment to your organization (the product you chose during the 1st week discussion).

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