A food taster is a person that takes food (or drink) to be served to someone else to confirm that it is safe to eat. The person to whom the food is going to be served is usually an important person (for example, a monarch) or anyone that could possibly be under threat of assassination or harm.
Food tasters have several functions:
- The safety of the food may be determined by observing whether or not the food taster subsequently becomes ill. (Note, however, that food tasting would not be effective against slow-acting poisons that take a long time to show any visible symptoms.)
- The food taster may also be responsible for the preparation and serving of food. The hope is that tasters will be diligent in preventing poison from being introduced into food, in order to safeguard their own lives.
- In the event that the target (emperor, monarch, etc.) should fall ill or die, the similar illness or death of the taster provides evidence of deliberate poisoning.
Presidential food tasters
Over history, presidents and royal families have hired food tasters or sacrifices, because of the fear of being poisoned. Adolf Hitler’s food taster Margot Woelk tried the food at 8:00 am everyday and if she is not ill the food would be sent to Hitler’s military headquarters.  They were not always successful though, Queen Durdhara, the Mauryan empress ate food that was prepared for her husband and incurred a fatal death. In ancient Rome, the duty was often given to a slave (termed the praegustator). Roman Emporor Claudius was killed by poison in A.D. 54 even though he hired a food taster named Halotus.  The role of a food taster was unfortunate and often were done by force and tasters who were unwilling to act.  In more recent times the food taster has become essential to everyday life and needed in all food producing companies. President Vladimir Putin has hired a food taster who is part of his security staff to protect himself as well.  The public does not know the salary of a royal food taster. The only comparable is the White House calligraphers for the United States who make approximately a salary of $100,000 per year.  In recent times, animals such as mice have been used to detect impurities in food to be consumed by humans, such as during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. In the United States, several recent presidents have been known to employ food tasters.
Professional food tasters
Major food based companies employ food tasters (sometimes called sensory developers) and flavour developers to create and taste on a daily basis. Professional food tasters work between 3 to 6 hours a day depending on new product arrivals or time for competition. A person working at Godiva, would have to sample up to 50 chocolates a day because of the amount of diverse products they carry.  Ben & Jerry’s, one of the largest ice cream corporations in America requires an education in dairy science, food science or food chemistry and work experience in similar fields before you can work for them.  These “flavour gurus” as they call it, have to find sustainable agriculture for their supplies, mix-up creative, out of this world flavours and be a part of numerous taste testing sessions of their concoctions.  The Jordans and Ryvita company is a UK based whole grain cereal, crackers and flatbread producer. A taste tester from there will spend their day tasting, pricing and analyzing the proportion of dried fruit to cereal. A typical salary of an entry-level graduate would be £20,000-£25,000 or approximately $34,000 - $42, 000 USD.  “These people are trained, just like you train athletes.”  Fred Caporaso who is the director of Chapman University’s Sensory Evaluation Laboratory explains his quote for hiring testers who have tongues that work better than average and that can only happen through extensive taste bud training.
Pet food taster
Human pet food tasters are an asset in the industry. They have the ability to describe the tartness of a product whereas dogs will only bark back.  Pet food tasters will chew the food but not swallow because their taste buds are trained to sense the texture and flavour of the food. There are also dog treat tasters who will chew on the sticks because they want the experience to be just as enjoyable for the canines.  The approximate salary of a pet food taster from 2010, is $30,000 to $40,000 USD. 
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- Miller, D. (2013, September 4). The woman who eats dog food for a living: Female taster gives dogs' dinners the 'human grade' seal of approval. The Daily Mail online. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2411008/The-woman-eats-dog-food-living-Female-taster-gives-dogs-dinners-human-grade-seal-approval.html
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