The food industry, with its diverse range of products (e.g. short shelf-life foods, modified atmosphere packaged products and minimally processed products) is governed by strict food legislation, and microbiological safety has become a key issue. Legally required to demonstrate 'due diligence', food manufacturers are demanding analytical techniques that are simple to use, cost effective, robust, reliable and can provide results in 'real time'. The majority of current microbiological techniques (classical or rapid), particularly for the analysis of foodborne pathogens, give results that are only of retrospective value and do not allow proactive or reactive measures to be imple mented during modem food production. Rapid methods for microbial analysis need to be considered in the context of modem Quality Assurance (QA) systems. This book addresses microbiologists, biochemists and immunologists in the food industry, the public health sector, academic and research institutes, and manufacturers of kits and instruments. This volume is an up-to-date account of recent developments in rapid food microbiological analysis, current approaches and problems, rapid methods in relation to QA systems, and future perspectives in an intensely active field. P.D.P. Contributors Public Health Laboratory, Royal Preston Hospital, PO Box F.J. Bolton 202, Sharoe Green Lane North, Preston PR2 4HG, UK. D. M. Gibson Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Torry Research Station, 135 Abbey Road, Aberdeen AB9 8DG, Scotland. P.A. Hall Microbiology and Food Safety, Kraft General Foods, 801 Waukegan Road, Glenview, Illinois 60025, USA.