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Several arguments are put forward against the use of sampling plans in quality control. The three most important points of criticism are: 1. the distribution of microorganisms in food does not correspond with biometrical models; 2. the use of statistical test plans is too costlya procedure, and 3. bacteriological data are unsuitable for use when laying down fixed, obligatory standards. Although we may take objections of this kind seriously, the role of statistics should not be overestimated here. Their task is to objectify some of the elements of the test concept. it becomes possible in particular to characterize the precision of microbiological examination techniques, to describe the ''normal'' condition of a food on the basis of status analyses and to drawup sampling plans appropriate to the characteristics involved. The aim must be quality control with little expenditure and with little riskof incorrect decisions. In this way the increased use of variables plans, the taking of pooled samples and the development of continuous processes (e.g. control card techniques) can be helpful.