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TCA food problems

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David Creighton

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TCA food problems

by David Creighton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:10 pm

i think i've hit on this once before; but i'm really tired of getting various items of produce home only to find them infected with TCA - yes that 'corked' wine stuff. recently potatoes, green beans and pineapple have had the problem. its hard for me to detect in small quantities in the open areas. but it would be easier in the original box. it comes from grocery chains like whole foods and other local groceries. i'll bet if i contact WF's office, their buyer won't even know or care what i'm talking about. but for a chain that demands compliance on so many other issues from their suppliers, why can't they insist on NO chlorine in suppliers warehouses? and why can't they at least sniff the boxes at the back door.
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: TCA food problems

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:26 pm

Carrots. Every damned bag, no matter the size or shape.
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Re: TCA food problems

by Karen/NoCA » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:26 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:Carrots. Every damned bag, no matter the size or shape.


Don't buy them in a bag, but from a grocer who carries very fresh carrots, with the tops still on. They are usually long and thinner. In the stores here, they are in the organics section. Or buy them from the Farmer's Markets. I've never bought carrots in a bag, and I detest the trend I see where more and more produce in being bagged prior to selling. I don't buy it, as I like to pick out every piece of produce I buy, green beans, Brussels sprouts, grapes....
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Re: TCA food problems

by David Creighton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:47 pm

yes, i've seen the problem with carrots - in fact they seem to be the worst overall. but the bag shouldn't matter. the TCA didn't happen in the bag; it happened before. but why so many?
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Re: TCA food problems

by Robin Garr » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:21 am

David Creighton wrote:yes, i've seen the problem with carrots - in fact they seem to be the worst overall. but the bag shouldn't matter. the TCA didn't happen in the bag; it happened before. but why so many?

My guess: It happens in the industrial packaging process. Chlorine wash? That's my bet.

I'm with Karen. The fresher, less packaged and more local you can buy your veggies - or ANY food - the better off you are, and doubly so in this deregulated age when the big food industry is much more interested in shareholder profits than quality.
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Re: TCA food problems

by Hoke » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:26 am

I'm going with Robin here. I think it's the washing/rinsing/processing in chlorinated water that is the likely culprit.

Had an infamous training session for the SWE a few years ago down in the Orlando area, second-rate hotel with a mediocre food service tried to deliver plated meals to the whole group. None of us ate very much because the green beans in particular, but also the other foods, were reeking of what, to wine people screamed of TCA.

Then someone noticed that the water (and need I explain how heavily chlorinated the water is in Orlando???) smelled exactly the same.
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Re: TCA food problems

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:32 am

I've never noticed this. (Once again, my incredible insensitivity to TCA serves me well!)
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Re: TCA food problems

by Hoke » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:41 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:I've never noticed this. (Once again, my incredible insensitivity to TCA serves me well!)


If you're living in an area where the water is heavily chlorinated/treated, you stop noticing it about 99% of the time---a reaction sort of akin to anosmia, the brain's ability to block out noxious odors within minutes---and don't really get it until a sudden whiff of water or chlorinated food washed in that water surprises you with the smell.

In Florida, at times, and especially when the hotels/restaurants didn't have their own filtering systems, a glass of water can taste like freshly chlorinated swimming pool water.
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Re: TCA food problems

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:46 am

Karen/NoCA wrote:...I like to pick out every piece of produce I buy...

You must spend a lot of time at the quinoa stand. :D

Thanks for the advice. I remain hopeful for some convenience in shopping someday.
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Re: TCA food problems

by Paul Winalski » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:49 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:I've never noticed this. (Once again, my incredible insensitivity to TCA serves me well!)


Some lucky people are unable to detect TCA. I suspect it's genetic, in the same way that some people can't taste phenylthiocarbamide. I met one once pouring wine at one of the booths at a Yakima barrel tasting event. He served me a sample that was reeking with TCA. When I pointed out to him that the wine was corked, he poured himself a sip and said no--it was all right. I asked him to have someone else in the booth taste it. That person took one whiff, said "yuk!" and took the bottle away.

My own TCA sensitivity is higher than usual, and I definitely routinely encounter the "corked carrot" phenomenon. I also once encountered a six pack of bitter lemon soda bottles whose contents was corked. That was easy to explain--the bottle caps had cork seals.

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Re: TCA food problems

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:43 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:
Mike Filigenzi wrote:I've never noticed this. (Once again, my incredible insensitivity to TCA serves me well!)


Some lucky people are unable to detect TCA. I suspect it's genetic, in the same way that some people can't taste phenylthiocarbamide. I met one once pouring wine at one of the booths at a Yakima barrel tasting event. He served me a sample that was reeking with TCA. When I pointed out to him that the wine was corked, he poured himself a sip and said no--it was all right. I asked him to have someone else in the booth taste it. That person took one whiff, said "yuk!" and took the bottle away.

My own TCA sensitivity is higher than usual, and I definitely routinely encounter the "corked carrot" phenomenon. I also once encountered a six pack of bitter lemon soda bottles whose contents was corked. That was easy to explain--the bottle caps had cork seals.

-Paul W.


I've actually been tested for this. I was looking at participating in a study here at Davis, and was tested beforehand for TCA sensitivity. I was given a variety of wines to smell and told to note those that were off. After a week or so, I received my results. I was rejected for the study because I was unable to detect TCA in any but the very highest level samples. I don't remember getting a threshold level but there was a little graph that showed me as being several orders of magnitude less sensitive to the stuff than most people.
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Re: TCA food problems

by Karen/NoCA » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:48 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:...I like to pick out every piece of produce I buy...

You must spend a lot of time at the quinoa stand. :D

Thanks for the advice. I remain hopeful for some convenience in shopping someday.

You are from New York City? There are no organics there?
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Re: TCA food problems

by Lou Kessler » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:16 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:
Paul Winalski wrote:
Mike Filigenzi wrote:I've never noticed this. (Once again, my incredible insensitivity to TCA serves me well!)


Some lucky people are unable to detect TCA. I suspect it's genetic, in the same way that some people can't taste phenylthiocarbamide. I met one once pouring wine at one of the booths at a Yakima barrel tasting event. He served me a sample that was reeking with TCA. When I pointed out to him that the wine was corked, he poured himself a sip and said no--it was all right. I asked him to have someone else in the booth taste it. That person took one whiff, said "yuk!" and took the bottle away.

My own TCA sensitivity is higher than usual, and I definitely routinely encounter the "corked carrot" phenomenon. I also once encountered a six pack of bitter lemon soda bottles whose contents was corked. That was easy to explain--the bottle caps had cork seals.

-Paul W.


I've actually been tested for this. I was looking at participating in a study here at Davis, and was tested beforehand for TCA sensitivity. I was given a variety of wines to smell and told to note those that were off. After a week or so, I received my results. I was rejected for the study because I was unable to detect TCA in any but the very highest level samples. I don't remember getting a threshold level but there was a little graph that showed me as being several orders of magnitude less sensitive to the stuff than most people.

The other extreme does exist also. We have friends where the wife if sitting across from you at the dinner table will exclaim corked when you open a bottle before you even pour it into your glass. I've seen her point this out on numerous occasions and she is always right.(Extreme sensitivity to TCA)
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Re: TCA food problems

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:19 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:
Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:...I like to pick out every piece of produce I buy...

Thanks for the advice. I remain hopeful for some convenience in shopping someday.

You are from New York City? There are no organics there?

Oh, of course there are. Lots. In fact, these are organic carrots in the bag!

The real thrust of my comment is that I'd need to have a chat with Jim about buying loose carrots. It's not in his world-view. :roll:
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Re: TCA food problems

by GeoCWeyer » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:00 pm

My "nose" is quite sensitive to it. Years ago I called Mann's in CA and complained. They said it happens after it leaves them and is caused by variance in temperatures. There are few vegetables I can eat fresh in the winter because of it. My wife and the two exchange students are not as sensitive and don't notice it.
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