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What is the Job Description for a Food Technologist?
A food technologist, or food scientist, generally works in the food processing industry to develop healthy, safe, palatable, and convenient food products. This involves knowledge of chemistry, physics, engineering, biotechnology, and other sciences as well. A food technologist must create better ways to preserve food, process it, package it, store it, and even deliver it. A food technologist may also do research into new food sources or new substitutes for harmful additives. Or some food technologists work for the government as inspectors of food processing plants to ensure proper safety and sanitation standards are being met.
How Do You Become a Food Technologist?
This varies depending on the specialty and type of work. In some cases, a food technologist only needs a bachelor's degree in agricultural science, such as assisting in research. However, for a food technologist to conduct their own research, a master's degree or PhD is necessary. Someone wishing to teach at the college level or advance to administrative research positions will also require a PhD.
Course work includes all the necessary sciences mentioned above and specific work on food itself – food chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and processing operations. Those wishing to grow food may study plant physiology, soil chemistry, or entomology too. More advanced degrees require field work, research, and a dissertation. Employers also prefer candidates with computer skills.
Mounting interest in health, nutrition, diets, and biosecurity (the prevention of infectious agents) has led to more job opportunities for food technologists. The shrinking availability of natural resources and growing world population will also increase demand. A master's degree or PhD will help anyone interested in this field take full advantage of the new surge of possible jobs.