In quality control in the food industry in North-Western Europe, safety and keeping quality of final products are mostly maintained by preventative systems of factory surveillance, rather than by the “analytical” approach in which finished product samples are examined and measures taken later, based on the results of such an examination of samples. Methods are recommended for verifying that all preventative measures have been taken correctly.

Since microbiological examination of samples is often the sole way of checking on goods, e.g. upon importation, methods for this purpose are also recommended. It is strongly suggested that numbers of tests applied to each commodity are limited and that the groups of organisms to be determined in each instance will be chosen after careful study of the microorganisms associated with a particular food. The need for standards in evaluating the results obtained is stressed. A first attempt in streamlining, mechanization, automation, and data handling in this area, is presented.

Thorough retrospective complaint examination, i.e. a careful analysis of what may have caused rejection of consignments despite preventative quality control, is recommended as useful for avoiding repetition of the same or similar phenomena in future. Microbiological methods and chemical tests for microbial metabolites in instances where complete or partial autosterilization has occurred, are recommended.

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Author notes

1Based on a series of lectures presented to the Summer Session Course 20.53 S, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., June 20–21, 1968.