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Cork dogs to fight TCA?

Corked wines is still a problem. It is often the fault of the foul smelling chemical TCA. Even if the situation seems to have improved over recent years (fewer corked wines) it’s still a problem. A reader of the Brief suggested that one could teach dogs to identify TCA and find bad corks before they find their way into a bottle.

Dogs can find both narcotics and truffles so why not TCA? Yes, why not?

So we posed the question to Carlos de Jesus, marketing director of Amorim, the world’s biggest cork producer. It turns out that our reader was not the first to have the dog idea.

The answer is that, yes, one could probably train dogs to find TCA. But it would have two drawbacks: First, there are quite a few corks made (billions each year) so you would need to have very fast dogs or very many dogs.

But perhaps more importantly, various health and safety or food control administrations might not see in a favourable light dogs poring over food closures (envision a sniffing and slobbering hound…). That’s why they are likely to stick to the expensive gas-chromatographers and mass spectrometers they already have invested in.

This post is also available in: Swedish

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