September 20, 2021

Food quality: Off-odors

Odor is complex both because of the large number of compounds that contribute to it and because it involves a subjective human response. Odorants have a major importance for the evaluation of food.

Pleasant aromas become off-odors when they exist in environments where they should not. Off-odors can cause severe problems in foods, leading to economic losses due to product recalls, reduced consumer confidence and to potentially a tarnished brand image.

Common causes for off-odor problems including: flavor scalping, spoilage, product formulation interactions, introduction of new vendors and ingredients, packaging failures/changes, production issues/changes, warehouse and transportation storage issues.

Off-odors in foods may result from oxidation, light-catalyzed reactions, nonenzymatic browning, chemical reactions and interactions among food constituents, enzymatic reactions and microbial spoilage.

Many interactions between food components, e.g., catalysis by metal ions or on surfaces, radical and redox reactions may influence the release, formation and transition of odorants. An off-odor makes products look bad, regardless of whether a true health risk exists.

Bacterial spoilage of dairy foods is manifested by the presence of a wide variety of metabolic by-products, causing off-odors and flavors, in addition to visible changes in color or texture. Because of the perishability of milk and the nature of milk production and handling procedures, the development of off-odors is not uncommon.

Off-odors are occasionally reported in bottled product. The more common off odor issues result from whisky being transported and stored in unsuitable environmental conditions. For example; transit and storage close to very smelly chemicals can result in odor ingress into the bottle.
Food quality: Off-odors

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