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In most countries the safety and quality of foods is becoming a matter of increasing concern. Information is more readily available to consumers through the mass media and they are considerably more aware of existing and potential risks from pesticides, food poisoning and a poor diet. The impact of this greater awareness can be seen with consumers preferring to buy foods that are made by larger manufacturers, for example, a plastic bag of well dried fish rather than loose dry fish from a basket in a market. The small and medium scale food processor is thus well-advised to pay heed to this rapid change in customers attitudes if they are to survive in business. This book is targeted at such small food manufacturers and the agencies that can assist and advise them. Its purpose is to present the basic principles of quality assurance to satisfy customer demands and safety. Hopefully it will guide food manufacturers, however small, on how to improve their particular production unit, keep up to date with a changing world and stay in business.

After introducing the basic principles and differences between quality control and quality assurance, the comparatively new management tool of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point systems (HACCP) is briefly described. These aspects are then related to four specific sub-sectors: baking, fruit processing, cereal or oilseed milling and herb and spice processing in order to show, in a practical way, how small, rural enterprises can implement appropriate quality assurance systems at low cost.

Quality improvement and control is not easy, particularly for very small manufacturers who may feel isolated. For this reason this publication ends with a series of appendices which list relevant publications, useful contacts and simple test methods.

However, in a publication of this size it is not possible to describe in detail every aspect of quality assurance and quality control and the reader is therefore advised to consult these publications and contact institutions for further information.

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