Food Scientists & Technologists
Also called: Food Scientist, Food Technologist, Research Food Technologist, Seafood Technology Specialist
Produced by CareerOneStop
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With a growing world population, the task of feeding everyone on the planet is getting bigger every day. Key to maintaining the nation’s food supply— agricultural and food scientists research ways to improve agricultural production and food products, while keeping conditions healthy and sustainable on farms, production facilities, and in the soil. Animal scientists research ways to improve the quality and productivity of farm animals for food production, through lowering animal death rates, increasing growth rates, and upgrading their environments. Food scientists and technologists study the basic elements of food. They analyze nutritional content, discover food sources, and develop ways to make processed foods safe and nutritious. Many create new food products, and research ideas to preserve and package food. Soil scientists examine the composition of soil, how it affects plant or crop growth, and how different soil treatments affect crop productivity. Plant scientists develop improvements to crop yields and ways to enhance plant production, including controlling weeds and pests. Agricultural and food scientists work in colleges and universities, food production companies, and in scientific research and development. They divide their time between laboratories, offices, and—when needed— visits to farms and processing plants. Work hours are typically full time, with standard hours. Agricultural and food scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in their field, or a related science or engineering major. Many pursue graduate degrees.
What they do:Use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, preserve, store, and distribute food.
On the job, you would:
- Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing, and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
- Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management.
- Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
- manufacture and distribution of products
- food production
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Engineering and Technology
- product and service development
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- reading work related information
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
- thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
- figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
- listen and understand what people say
- read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
- notice when problems happen
- add, subtract, multiply, or divide
- choose the right type of math to solve a problem
- pay attention to something without being distracted
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
- Analytical Thinking
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
- BioDiscovery ImaGene
- Insightful S-PLUS
Data base user interface and query software
- U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA National Nutrient Database