FBMTOO-Taints and Off-odours: Industrial Challenges

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Jane Parker

Email: j.k.parker@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

In this module you will tackle a real industrial challenge through a series a series of problem-solving exercises. Taints and off-odours continue to cause concern for the food industry, often leading to product withdrawal, loss of loyal customers and substantial financial loss. In this case study you will look at reported incidences of taints and off-notes in the food industry, and discuss how they were identified, solved and mitigated. With lectures and guidance, you will then plan your own investigation into a recently reported taint problem. Data will be provided, and you will produce a detailed report on mitigation strategies for the technical director.


To work in a team to research, organise and implement strategies to:

  • Identify the problem

  • Understand the underlying cause

  • Mitigate the problem

And to prepare a report for senior management describing the problem and making recommendations to control the process and prevent reoccurrence.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Use of resources to identify common sources of taints in the food industry

  • Presentation skills

  • Selection of appropriate analytical techniques

  • Strategies for identifying unknown taints and their origins

  • Experimental approach and design

  • Review and evaluation of data, abstraction of salient points to present to non-specialised audience

Additional outcomes:

  • Data interpretation, numeracy

  • Team work, collaboration

  • Communication skills

  • Resourcefulness and perseverance (!)

Outline content:

The following will be covered in lectures and group work:

  • Structure and aroma of typical taints and off notes

  • Common sources of taints in the food industry

  • Case histories from the food industry

  • Techniques for analysing taints

  • Strategy for selecting appropriate techniques

A case study will be undertaken, where the learnings from the first part of the module will be put into practice in order to produce a strategy for solving a real problem. This will include:

  • Development of an overall strategy for solving the problem

  • Selection of appropriate analytical techniques for identification of the taint

  • Strategies for determining origin of taints - microbial and chemical

  • Mitigation strategies

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 2
Practicals classes and workshops 4
Supervised time in studio/workshop 19
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 10
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation for presentations 5
    Preparation for seminars 5
    Preparation of practical report 10
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 5
    Dissertation writing 20
Total hours by term 0 100 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 85
Oral assessment and presentation 15

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1. Group presentation (10-15  mins total) of literature exercise (in class week 3) 15%

2. Final assignment (Week 1 Summer) 85%

Formative assessment methods:

1. Plan for identifying taint (in class week 4)

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of coursework

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 14 May 2019


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