Pet owners sneaking a nibble or two out of their pets’ bowls, out of curiosity, is completely understandable. But eating dog food for a living? Now that’s pretty hard to digest!
But ‘professional dog food taster’ is a real job, and it apparently pays quite well. An entry level position in the quality department would typically pay about $30,000 a year, while an ‘experienced professional’ could draw up to $75,000.
So what exactly does the job entail? Well, as the name suggests, it pretty much involves tasting dog food to make sure it meets a premium brand’s exacting quality standards. Tasters regularly open sample tins of each freshly made batch of dog (or cat) food, and then proceed to smell it, and eat it.
Photo: The Guardian
Professional tasters are trained to identify flavors that dogs tend to enjoy or reject. “Although dogs’ palates are different to ours, taste is an important quality to check to ensure each different ingredient is perfectly balanced in just the right way,” said Philip Wells, chief taster at Lily’s Kitchen pet food. “Trying the food is also a good way to pick up on the nuances of the cooking: this works especially well on the dry kibbles,” he added.
Wells said that he quite likes the food, and he doesn’t really have a problem with the tasting. He explained that the meat used in pet food has to be derived from animals passed as fit for human consumption, under the Animals Feed Regulations 2010, and his firm uses ‘human-grade freshly prepared raw food’ in all its recipes.
But he did admit that there are some “pretty gruesome pet foods out there”, and although he doesn’t taste them, “the smell is enough to turn the stomach” when he does a bit of market research.
Despite the high-pressure deadlines and the occasional surprises, Wells said that he pretty much enjoys his job, and finds it rewarding because it helps pets become happier and healthier. And the best part – he gets to work with a ‘key member’ of the tasting team – Lily, the border terrier.
Source: The Guardian