On a typical day she samples 60 to 70 bites of Krimpets, Kandy Kakes, Juniors and other snacks made by Tasty Baking Co. at its Hunting Park bakery.
She likes all 100 varieties of Tastykakes, she said. But when pressed, she concedes she is partial to the Butterscotch Krimpet.
Known as Bridie at the plant, Gallagher works from 8 a.m. until 4 or 5 p.m. testing each run of the day's production. She wears white nurses' shoes and a lab coat, and logs a record of each sampling into a computer.
She bites delicately, taking about one-sixth of a Krimpet. It usually takes 15 chews to pass judgment.
``Of course some people eat a whole Krimpet in one bite,'' said Joseph Bauer, director of technical services at Tasty.
Gallagher mulls over her chews, then, like a wine-tester, spits it out.
``Sometimes I do swallow, but not that often - that would just be too much,'' said Gallagher, who said her cholesterol level and general health were fine, despite the hazards of her job.
To keep her taste buds in shape, Gallagher has a light breakfast and avoids onions and spicy foods at lunch.
In 1962, Gallagher immigrated to Philadelphia from County Donegal in Ireland. Four years later, she began working at Tasty, where her brother had a job. She started in the icing and packing department.
In 1972 she transferred to the company's lab, where she developed her refined palate. She has also attended training sessions outside the company.
Bauer said most taste-testers would have burned out after 24 years. Testers often develop a tolerance for the products they taste, or their palates change with age.
``Bridie has a palate that does not seem to change over time, and that is rather unique,'' Bauer said.
Bauer and other technicians at Tasty make sure Gallagher's taste buds stay on the mark.
Several times a year, a panel of eight to 10 testers, including Gallagher, meet to make sure their palates agree, and that the company's products are true to their original form.
The panel also meets to evaluate ingredients from new suppliers and new products. On these occasions Gallagher uses a sliding sensory scale, rather than the pass-fail system she uses for the daily production line.
Bauer said the knack was not only to savor the flavors, but to evaluate them and measure them against the company's standards to maintain uniform taste.
``When a customer bites into a Tastykake, they are expecting it to taste like every other one they have had,'' he said.
Bauer said Tasty liked to keep the color and flavor of its products conservative, compared to some of its competitors who produce hot-pink icing and jarring sweetness.
``We don't want our flavor to be overwhelming,'' said Bauer. ``We want people to finish a package and still be able to eat a little bit more.''
Rejections are rare, Gallagher said, maybe once every few years, because the bakery's production staff has its own quality-control hurdles.
But recently, a batch of oil overheated in the storage tank. The effect on the oil was not evident to the eye, but it was to Gallagher's sense of taste.
Gallagher also screens all of the ingredients that come into the plant, including peanut butter, oils, sweeteners, raw chocolate and flavor extracts.
The toughest taste, she said, is chocolate liquor, a bitter form of liquid cocoa.
But despite that hardship, Gallagher said she planned to keep on nibbling.
``What motivates me is that this is not something you do one day then forget about it,'' she said. ``It's an ongoing process.''