Introduction Within the food industry today, there is an increasing trend towards the production of higher quality products. There are two major motivating factors behind this trend. First, growing public interest in the safety and wholesomeness of foodstuffs has led to increasingly stringent regulations in the EC, the USA and Japan. Second, more and more food companies are realising the financial benefits to be gained from better quality assurance and process control on the production line. By producing quality products through an efficient and controlled process, companies can increase their market share and reduce costs. The penalties to be paid for not paying sufficient attention to quality control can be very high — from a costly recall of a batch of a product to a long‐term fall in market share due to the loss of customer confidence in a brand name.
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