Avoiding Customer Complaints Origins of Food Taints and Off-flavours

The presence of compounds causing taints and off-flavours in food is a major concern to the food industry. If the organoleptic properties of a food are not as expected, this results in a lack of consumer confidence and a perception of poor quality, leading to consumer complaints, brand damage and potentially a costly product recall. A taint in food results from contamination by a foreign chemical from an external source and there is potential for introduction of such chemicals in all parts of the global food supply chain. Off flavours, which result from internal deterioration of the food, can also originate from poor control in food production, including processing parameters, hygiene controls or packaging integrity.

In each part of the food supply chain as practices and processes are changed or developed, additional sources of compounds with the potential to cause taints or off-flavours may emerge. Some of the more common taints and off-flavors associated with raw materials, micro-organisms, processing, packaging and storage are discussed in this paper.

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