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In the absence of more reliable methods, fishery products are graded for quality, and bought and sold in international trade, largely on the basis of sensory assessment. Indeed, these principles underpin the Freshness Grades in the EC Grading Rules for Fish (Council Regulation EEC No 103/76, and subsequent relevant amendments).

The West European Fish Technologists' Association (WEFTA), first constituted in 1969, is an informal association of laboratories engaged in fish and food science and technology in Europe and Scandinavia. Members of the WEFTA Working Group on Analytical Methods have collaborated inter alia on the problems of attaining a common understanding and interpretation of sensory assessment of fishery products. Such collaboration, encouraged by WEFTA, has resulted in the compilation of this Multilingual Guide to the Freshness Grades as an aid to training, improvement of product quality, harmonisation, regulation and support for intra- and extra-Community trade in fishery products. The Working Group hopes that the guide will be widely circulated to achieve these aims.

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