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How Food Tasters Work

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Author's Note: How Food Tasters Work

I'd love it if a food scientist peered into my husband's mouth. I have a feeling he just may be a 'super taster' -- someone with two or three times the normal number of taste buds. He can discern nuances like oak and vanilla when wine-tasting, and can pick out coconut and lemon in any food, even if it contains just a hint. I thought I had defective taste buds before working on this article. Now I know he likely just has loads more than I do.

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  • Amira, Dan. "Walter Scheib, Former White House Chef for Clinton and Bush, Defends Presidential Food Tasters." Daily Intelligencer. March 19, 2013. (Nov. 23, 2014)
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Food taster FAQ

What is a professional taster?
There are two basic types of food tasters: The first group consists of professionally educated and trained men and women who are often employed as food technicians, food scientists or product developers. The second type comprises consumers who work part-time or on an as-needed basis to taste-test products for companies.
What does a food taster do?
Taste-testers take small bites of a particular food, which allows them to truly evaluate its various components. Then they spit it out and cleanse their palate in preparation for the next sample by sipping water or perhaps even gargling.
How do I become a food taster?
Professional food tasters say it helps to prepare your body as much as your mind for this job. Protect your 10,000 taste buds by passing on cigarettes, booze and super spicy or salty foods. Lay off the aftershave or cologne, as heavy scents can impair your sense of smell -- and 80 percent of taste is smell. Finally, eat your veggies.
What education do you need to be a food taster?
If you're interested in becoming a professional food taster, you'll most likely need a degree in food science or the culinary arts. A nutrition degree can also be helpful, as well as a post in product development at a food or beverage company.
How much do food tasters make?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a food taster is $54,294.