Food Scientist Job Description
A food scientist is a person who applies scientific knowledge to food production, preparation and distribution. A food scientist applies the knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry and engineering to food handling, processing and packaging to add value to food and provide us with safe, nutritious and nourishing foods.
A food scientist should be curious, creative, analytical, methodical, confident, patient and persistent to experiment and develop foods that are safe and nutritionally rich. They should be knowledgeable about the chemical composition, structure and nutritional value of food, food processing and preservation techniques, and the chemical, physical and biological changes that occur in food during processing, preservation and storage.
Pursue a career in food science and technology if you have aptitude for science and interest in the application of scientific knowledge to food production and preparation.
What does a Food Scientist do?
Food scientists may do some or all of the following:
- liaise with microbiologists, agricultural scientists, engineers, packaging specialists and customers
- conduct food experiments, record and analyze results
- plan and supervise food handling, processing and distribution activities
- plan and supervise market and consumer research
- modify and develop food products and explain them to clients
- study the nature of foods and the causes of putrefaction
- develop solutions for food quality degradation
- test and evaluate the nutritional value and other qualities of foods
- inspect and test food samples for harmful microorganisms
- inspect and monitor food factories and labs to ensure compliance with government regulations
- improve industrial processes for food production and preparation
- package food after it has being processed to preserve and contain it
Where does a Food Scientist work?
Places of work for food scientists include:
- Food manufacturing companies
- Food retailers and supermarket chains
- Food equipment and ingredient suppliers
- Research centers
- Government agencies
- Colleges and universities
Food scientists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. They work in offices, kitchens, laboratories, factories and classrooms. They may travel for work or to attend conferences or seminars.
What is Required to Become a Food Scientist ?
To become a food scientist, you will need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in food science/technology or a closely related discipline.
Secondary school students interested in studying food science/technology should take preparatory subjects such as English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Physics - Mechanics and Heat
- Principles of Composition
- Elemental Organic Chemistry
- Food Analysis
- Cellular Metabolism in Animals
- Food and Industrial Technology
- Food Processing Engineering
The fields where a food scientist can specialize include:
- Animal Products Technology
- Brewing Technology
- Cereals, Pulses, Legumes and Tuber Processing Technology
- Food Biotechnology
- Food Chemistry and analysis
- Food Engineering and Processing
- Fruits and Vegetable Processing Technology
- Quality Control and Assurance
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Food scientists need to have:
- manual dexterity
- accuracy and precision
- creativity and innovation
- good eyesight
- good memory
- good hand-eye coordination
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- observational skills
- math and computer skills
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
- the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
- the ability to strictly follow food hygiene guidelines
- knowledge of food processing and production methods
- knowledge of health and safety, and food hygiene rules
Should I be a Food Scientist ?
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