Taster con­sumes 1 kg ofcrawf ish per day

Changjiang Weekly - - SOCIETY - By Deng Ji

In a craw­fish pro­cess­ing fac­tory in Qian­jiang, Hubei Prov­ince, Qu Yunx­iao, a 25year-old Shan­dong woman, peels and tastes craw­fish while record­ing the shape, color, taste and spici­ness of each batch. She is a full-time "craw­fish taster." Be­cause of the rise of craw­fish ecom­merce, craw­fish-tast­ing has be­come an im­por­tant emerg­ing pro­fes­sion.

Tons of craw­fish pass through a num­ber of the fac­tory's assem­bly lines ev­ery day to be turned into frozen sea­soned craw­fish. They are then dis­patched to Tmall's cold stor­age cen­ters all across China.

Be­fore de­liv­ery, craw­fish tasters like Qu must check for qual­ity. They must en­sure that the meat is tight, the body is in­tact, no clamps are bro­ken, and the taste is spicy. In the in­ter­vals be­tween blind-tast­ing dif­fer­ent batches of craw­fish, tasters rinse their mouths with milk to re­move the spicy taste and again with min­eral water to re­move the salty fla­vor. If a craw­fish is found to be poor in meat qual­ity or taste, the whole batch is dis­carded.

A taster con­sumes about one kilo­gram of craw­fish on an av­er­age day. In the com­pany where Qu works, there are about 50 full-time tasters with an an­nual salary of up to RMB 600,000. Now the com­pany is ex­pand­ing its ca­pac­ity and is in ur­gent need of more craw­fish tasters; how­ever, qual­i­fied tasters are dif­fi­cult to find be­cause they must be fa­mil­iar with all as­pects from cook­ing to qual­ity con­trol to sup­ply chains.

Photo by He Guang

Qu Yunx­iao tastes craw­fish.

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