Leatherhead Food Research maintains a Taint Index listing the many compounds encountered in literature and analysis. This is is a useful resource that can be used to search for similar instances and compounds most likely to produce the taint. If the tainting compound is known then analysis can be optimised and semi-quantitative analysis can be undertaken. There are cases where a compound responsible for a taint in one type of food would not be perceived as a taint in another.
What are taints?
In the food industry, taints refer to undesirable odours or flavours. Compounds responsible for taints are often detectable at low levels – they can be picked up by the human senses at concentrations as low as parts per billion.
How do taints arise?
The most obvious cause of taints arises from the affected food product either being manufactured with tainted ingredients or coming into direct contact with the tainting source – tainted packaging for example. Food products can also pick up taints from nearby sources. Such sources include flooring, wooden pallets used for transport and storage, and volatile compounds released from diesel fumes into the air.
For more information about taints, please contact Leatherhead's Dr Wayne Morley, Head of Food Innovation. E: firstname.lastname@example.org