Independent quality control is a booming industry now valued at €75 billion and it isn’t difficult to see the reason for its growth over the past couple of decades. The damage product recalls can do to a brand both in terms of repeat production costs and subsequent reputation can be decimating.

The last serious product recall in the UK was three years ago when Mattel produced 18m toys decorated with lead paint but it could have been worse for the toymaker. Think back to the days when Perrier was the byword for mineral water before it all went horribly wrong.

The Sunday Times profiles a UK company called Intertek, whose employees test thousands of appliances ever year to make sure they do what it says on the proverbial tin. Analysts are already predicting companies such as Intertek are in for a windfall when new legislation prompted by the BP oil spill debacle is enacted.

The article describes Intertek as one of the least-known companies on the FTSE-100 but among three that dominate global testing of appliances as diverse as sound systems, candles, shirts, oil, solar panels, kettles and even honey.

“Honey is a very complex substance,” said Wolfhart Hauser, Intertek’s chief executive. “How have the bees that produce it been affected by farmers’ crop sprays?”

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