Essentially, quality control involves the examination of a product, service, or process for certain minimum levels of quality. Quality control can cover not just products, services, and processes, but also people. Employees are an important part of any establishment. If a company has employees that do not have adequate skills or training, have trouble understanding directions, or are misinformed, quality may be severely diminished. When quality control is considered in terms of human beings, it concerns correctable issues. However, it should not be confused with human resource issues.
In a food establishment sensory evaluation of foods is very important to ensure good quality and consistency are maintained. Have you ever wondered what comes into play whne you taste a food or drink and try to evaluate it?
Sensory evaluation is a scientific discipline used to evoke, measure, analyze and interpret reactions to the characteristics of foods and materials as they are perceived by the senses. It is the conscious effort to identify and judge different sensations and components in an object, be it a piece of food, a beverage, or a perfume.
Sensory evaluation encompasses all of the senses. It takes into account several different disciplines but emphasizes the behavioural basis of perception. It involves the measurement and evaluation of sensory properties of food and other materials. In short, sensory evaluation is a very "Gestalt" approach to product assessment.
Sensory scientists look at eight distinct, although interrelated, senses that are important in measuring and evaluating foods:
- Vision – seeing a product’s appearance
- Olfaction – (Smelling) The aroma or odour volatiles of food.
- Gustation – (Tasting) this is a chemical sense. It involves the detection of stimuli dissolved in saliva by the taste buds.
- Tactile Senses – (touch-) The item’s texture, mouth-feel, body
- Kinesthetic Senses – Feedback from muscles.
- Audition – (Hearing) Sound when ingested
- Trigeminal sense - Irritation, pain-Hot/cool sensations. This is a chemical reaction we feel in, for example, the smell of horseradish, and the coolness of a peppermint. Tannins in tea and the resulting astringency is a function of the trigeminal sense.
- Temperatures – heat, cold (Indirect effects of trigeminal sense)
West and Woods Introduction to Food Service
Payne- Palacio, J., Theis, M. (2001). (9th ed). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice hall.