What does a Food Scientist do?

Median Pay $62,910
Growth Rate 7%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A food scientist studies the deterioration and processing of foods by using microbiology, engineering, and chemistry. They determine nutrient levels of food by analyzing it’s content. They look for new nutritional food sources and investigate avenues for making processed foods taste good, safe and healthy. They also find the best way to distribute, process, preserve, and package the food.

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How to Become a Food Scientist

food scientist

A food scientist usually requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university because they use chemistry, microbiology, and engineering to analyze the principles of food deterioration and processing and the food’s vitamin, protein, sugar, and fat content. Often, a student continues on to get a doctoral degree. A lot of experience and knowledge in a work-related field is normally expected. Some on-the-job training may be given.

Job Description of a Food Scientist

Food scientists research new ways to ensure food safety as well as improve the taste and nutrition of the food. They check for stability and maturity in raw ingredients to ensure products meet required safety standards, quality, and nutrient values.

They also may inspect safety compliance with government regulations in regards to sanitation, waste management standards, and quality. They also assist in the development of quality assurance programs for storage operations and food processing. He or she works toward the overall improvement of food like texture, flavor, color, chemical composition, convenience and nutritional value.

A food scientist remains current on new regulations or events. They help resolve any problems in product development by working and consulting with plant operators, process engineers, marketing and packaging specialists, and flavor experts. This career uses knowledge in production and processing, chemistry, biology and food production. Knowledge in techniques and equipment used for growing and harvesting food products is also vital.

A food scientist should be able to analyze data, interact with computers, and monitor processors, materials, and surroundings to detect problems. Most food scientist are found working in the federal government, research universities, or private industry. Others, work in offices or food production facilities. Normally, a food scientist would be employed full-time.

Food Scientist Career Video Transcript

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.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Agricultural and Food Scientists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 19-1012.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.