Application of sensory analysis in quality control function in a company
Sensory analysis can be good tools on quality control jobs in food related companies. It can help the QC works in all different stages including QC of raw materials, packaging materials, process control, semi-product quality control, product quality control, warehousing quality control, transporting quality control, product shelf life control. Why should you employ sensory analysis as QC tool not just employ instrumental analysis? No current instrument on the world can replace the human perceptions in many aspects. Even the modern electronic-nose is not able to replace 100% human perceptions. You should be aware of that you should quality control the ones that human can perceive not the ones that they can not perceive as we are referring the sensory quality of the product here not the safety of the product.
The functions that sensory analysis can play for QC include set up the CQP (critical quality point) specifications with clients, provide the consistency of sensory quality of the product (based on SPC concepts), deal with the customer complaints, detect the threshold of odd flavors, define the sensory shelf life of the product (not the microbiological shelf life), set up the sensory quality control system.
In terms of setting a sensory quality control system, the following steps should be taken:
- fully understand the product in terms of its sensory properties
- identify the critical/key sensory attributes/index for quality control of the product
- identify the factors during the process that will affect the final product sensory properties
- define the upper and lower limits for each sensory attribute/index
- choose proper measurement method (measure the sensory attributes)
- define the control point with its upper/lower limits
- build up the control chart
- set up the conduction system