Food Scientists and Technologists

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Associate Professor
  • Compliance Coordinator
  • Confectionery Laboratory Manager
  • Dairy Bacteriologist
  • Enologist
  • Food and Drug Research Scientist
  • Food Chemist
  • Food Preservation Scientist
  • Food Processing Scientist
  • Food Safety Director

What They Do

  • 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 standards.
  • Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.
  • Study methods to improve aspects of foods, such as chemical composition, flavor, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience.
  • Stay up-to-date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.
  • Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
  • Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
  • Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
  • Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.
  • Study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IRC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic and Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Support and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Preparation Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in California was $64,010 with most people making between $35,560 and $103,500

Outlook

1.82%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 2,200 people in California. It is projected that there will be 2,600 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 40 openings due to growth and about 90 replacement openings for approximately 130 total annual openings.



California Career Resource Network