The DLG testing methods are based on current scientific findings on quality assurance in the various food sectors. The product-specific test schemes have been developed by expert committees made up of members from the fields of science and academia and practical operations. The tests are conducted by experts from the fields of science and academia, food surveillance bodies, the food industry and craft trades. All foods are assessed in neutralized state – i.e. without any indication or knowledge of the manufacturer, brand or price. That is why the DLG tests are scientifically up to date, independent and neutral. Their goal of developing the high quality level of foods further is recognized as a public-benefit objective. The test criteria and methods are publicly accessible on the internet.
The DLG tests are conducted on the basis of product sectors. The focus is on the sensory analysis of the foods and beverages (appearance, odour, taste and consistency). The testers/assessors draw up an expert opinion for each product. In addition the preparation, packaging and labelling are inspected and tested, and chemical, microbiological and physical tests are conducted. The quality of the end product submitted for testing on a specific effective date is crucial for the award.
Participation in the DLG tests is open to all food producers and is voluntary. The prerequisite for participation is written confirmation by the food producer that the statutory specifications under food law are observed. Test fees are charged for the DLG tests, depending on the outlay for test preparations (e.g. proper preparation of the products for the sensory tests) and the nature and extent of the laboratory, packaging and labelling examinations.
DLG tests around 30,000 products from different food sectors in scientifically neutral tests ever year. The quota of products that do not win an award fluctuates between 20 and 5 per cent, depending on the product group tested and the possible error sources in the various test sectors.
The DLG tests recognized as public benefit tests aim to develop the high quality level of foods further. The fact that participation in these tests is voluntary is the reason why only details of award-winning products are published. The producers receive a test report for all products submitted that includes hints on how any faults or deficits can be eliminated.
Sensory testing of food, the description and assessment of a food or beverage on the basis of human senses, is one of the key pillars for assessing food quality. These tests are regularly used by public authorities for quality monitoring and quality assurance of foods. Sensory testing is a separate scientific methodology and stands on the same level as other scientific analysis methods. Sensory analysis of foods is the focal area of DLG tests.