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Ranking Test—The candidates are asked to rank a series of four solutions for intensity of sweet basic taste. The solutions are a complex mixture of caffeine, phosphoric acid, and cola flavoring with supraliminal levels of sweetness. This test simulates actual flavor panel performance where panelists have to isolate and quantify elements from a complex whole. Arrangement Test—An important part of theflavorprofile method is the concept of amplitude, the initial overall impression of the balance and fullness of a product.

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The arrangement test seeks to measure a candidate's ability to perform this integrative measurement. Little, Inc. Some are diluted and may have sucrose or a flavor modifier added. The candidates are asked to rank the solutions in some meaningful flavor order and describe the basis for such ordering. Odor Recognition Series—The odor recognition series is given to determine a candidate's aptitude for identifying and describing 20 different odorants, most of which have been encountered by the candidate. Some commonly used odorants are: vanillin, benzaldehyde, anise, amyl acetate, methyl salicylate, and so forth.

Odorants should be perceptible but not overwhelming. The odor recognition test is presented in two parts, each using 10 different odorants. In the first part of the test the candidates are instructed to identify the odorant or associate it with some product. The second part of the test is multiple choice, and the candidates choose the word that best identifies the odorant. Time limits are imposed to minimize fatigue.

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Analysis and Interpretation of Screening Tests—Administration and evaluation of the screening tests should be performed by someone thoroughly experienced in the flavor profile method. A suggested system follows: Identification Test Candidates are not expected to answer all questions correctly but points are awarded for each correct answer. Susceptibility to false suggestion however serves to disqualify an individual from consideration. Basic Taste Test Candidates should be able to identify the four basic tastes. Points are awarded for each correct answer.

Ranking Test The maximum number of points is awarded for ranking the solutions in the correct order. Fewer points are awarded if the two lower or intermediate solutions are reversed. Other combinations receive proportionately fewer points.

The Role of Sensory Analysis in Quality Control

Arrangement Test Candidates who correctly rank the solutions using blend or fuUness as their criterion receive the maximum score. Other acceptable criteria might be: sweetness, sourness, orange identity, and so forth. Points are awarded based on correctness of response for whatever criterion is chosen. Odor Recognition Test In the odor recognition test maximum points are awarded for correctly identifying the odorant. Fewer points are awarded for product associations or characterizations. Other Criteria—During the screening tests the candidates are also rated on other qualities.

These include how they apply themselves in taking the tests, response to directions, level of confidence, and interest in and attitude toward the tests. Since the tests are given to a group of six candidates at a time, group interaction can also be observed. Personal Interview—After the candidates have taken the screening tests, they are interviewed about their work, academic or personal experiences in sensory or associated areas. Candidates are evaluated and rated on the following attributes: 1.

Interest in flavor and odor evaluation. Ability to function cooperatively in a group. Ability to effectively communicate opinions. Confidence to report what one perceives. Personal experiences that may contribute to flavor and odor analysis. Availability for panel work. The interviewer also discusses factors, such as allergies to or moral constraints about any food or beverage products, and addresses any health concerns that the candidate may have. Summary—Test scores and data from the interviews are the usual criteria for panelist selection.

The interviewer must rely on judgment, common sense, and experience to identify candidate potential.

Principles and Practices

Lack of interest or availability, or both, for panel work serves to disqualify individuals from further consideration. Training ofPanelists The selected candidates receive training to improve their abilities to describe aroma and flavor attributes using the flavor profile method. Training increases reliability. The duration of training will vary depending on the purpose of the panel. If the panel is expected to be capable of describing any food or beverage product, a training period of approximately six months is required. This includes approximately 60 h of training and h of practice per person.

Training for a single type of product can be accomplished in a shorter time. This usuafly requires three fuU days. Approximately 1 h per day is spent on the evaluation of these products, and each paneUst takes a turn at being panel leader. This usually requires three full days. During these sessions, the panel also practices application and interpretation of results. Panel Leader The panel must eventually have a panel leader who is responsible for conducting panel discussions, recording and compiling data, and interpreting and reporting results.

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The panel leader participates fully in the product evaluation and may also have responsibility for scheduling panels and preparing samples. The leader is usually chosen near the end of the training period on the basis of demonstrated ability, availability, and other considerations such as job responsibilities, and so forth. All utensils must be clean and odor-free. Samples should be presented to the panel under identical conditions and should be evaluated by all panel members in an identical manner at the same time. A product's aroma is analyzed first, then the flavor, and finally the aftertaste.

Procedure Four or more panelists work as a group to arrive at a consensus description of the sensory properties of the product. The panel members first independently evaluate the sample using standardized flavor profile techniques and record theirfindingson a blank sheet. An essential element of the procedure is the panel leader who is also one of the panelists. Reference materials are used to help the group reach agreement on terminology and intensity.

Thefinalcomposite profile typically takes three tofivesessions. The panel leader interprets and reports the results. The abilities of panelists to function cooperatively within the group and communicate opinions effectively are important factors in the successful conduct of the consensus procedure. Product Orientation Product orientation takes place before the formal panel and involves one or more informal sessions depending on the experience of the group. At this time the panel leader outhnes the objectives of the project and introduces the samples to be evaluated along with other products of the same or similar type.


This helps to estabhsh a framework for comparison. During this period, the panehsts draw up a list of character notes for the samples, decide on reference materials pure compounds or products that demonstrate particular odor or flavor notes , and develop the vocabulary necessary to describe these character notes. The panel also establishes at this time the best method for presenting and examining the samples.

Components of the Flavor Profile The following are the components of the flavor profile: 1. Overall impression of aroma and flavor, called amplitude. Identification of perceptible aroma and flavor notes. Order in which these character notes are perceived, called order of appearance. Additionally, when texture and color are important to the product's description, they are also noted during the panel session.