The Pet Food Taste-Tester

How does Simon Allison, a senior food technologist responsible for pet produce for British retailer Marks & Spencer, select food to carry for the store? Why, he taste-tested them, of course:

"You have to chew it a bit.

"I have trained my palate to look for materials that we will not allow in the recipe, such as tripe - pet owners react badly to the smell of tripe. "I'm looking for a patè texture, almost to the point where you could spread it on crusty bread."

His favourite is the organic luxury chicken dinner with vegetables for cats. "It has the taste and aroma of chicken and some of what you call the red flavours - things like heart and liver; gutsy, savoury notes. "Then you get a mealy, green pea, pulse aroma and occasionally a sweeter note from the carrot."

Link - via Wrongorama (a neat new blog "where what shouldn't be is." It's like Neatorama but for things that are just ... well, wrong.) - Thanks Alex!


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@Naomi-
Saying the food must be fit for human consumption isn't the same as having an individual taste test every variety. They make it "fit for human consumption" by controlling the ingredients, not by tossing in whatever and then ex post facto testing it on a dude to make sure it doesn't kill him. The taste tester is there for *taste*, not toxicity testing.
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If this is for Marks and Spencer then I could buy this story. Marks and Spencer only sell own label products that are all really high quality...I wouldn't be surprised if the pet food is really that tasty!
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In the UK, at least, it is a legal requirement that pet food has to be fit for human consumption (imagine the number of toddlers who are caught 'sharing' with Tiddles). The tester is an unpleasant but definitely real job - pity the people who join the Mars company as testers without realising that they also make Pegigree Chum....
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