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Buyers and Processors
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Pasta Quality

Dry pasta processors want a finished product that is visually appealing, elastic and strong enough to resist breakage during cutting, packaging, handling and shipping, able to withstand the rigors of cooking, and satisfying to the consumer palate.

Color Scores
Color scores for pasta are determined by light reflectance and are assigned on a scale of 1 to 10. A pasta sample with a score of 8.0 or higher is considered to have good color. Yellow color in semolina and pasta is a traditional - rather than functional - mark of quality. In the early days of the pasta industry, before sophisticated testing evolved, consumers assumed that a yellow pasta was made from durum wheat, which was known to make pasta with superior cooking quality compared to that made from other hard wheats.

Cooked Weight
Cooked weight looks at the absorbency of pasta by boiling pasta in a fixed amount of distilled water for a fixed amount of time. The cooked and drained pasta is then weighed.

Cooking Loss
Cooking loss measures the amount of solid material lost in the cooking water. After drying, the sample is weighed and reported as a percentage of the original dry pasta sample.

Cooked Firmness
Cooked firmness is determined by measuring the amount of force required to cut through cooked pasta. Most consumers prefer pasta that is "al dente," meaning it has some firmness to the bite. Good quality pasta that is cooked according to package directions should not be sticky or mushy when eaten.