Most of us take the safety of the food we eat and its availability for granted. Yet, many visitors to America marvel at the variety and abundance on display in our grocery stores. Making sure that the food supply is steady and safe is the work of agricultural and food scientists. They are involved i ...
n just about every aspect of America's diet. Form the farm to the processing plant to the packagers to the table, scientists work to make what's good even better.
Agricultural scientists develop safer ways to control pests and weeds on the farm. They also work on the necessary conditions for raising farm animals, and consider how to protect soil and water. They might work at a university agricultural research center, a large dairy, or for the government. Food scientists evaluate and invent new ways to preserve, process, package, store, and deliver food.
Their workplace might be a gleaming test kitchen or a manufacturing plant. To accomplish their vitally important work, these scientists draw on college degrees in chemistry, microbiology, plant science, agronomy, genetic engineering, and entomology - the study of insects.
A bachelor's degree is the minimum for some jobs in applied research, but a master's or doctoral degree is usually required for basic research. A Ph.D. is generally required for college teaching and administrative research positions.
Every state has what's called a land grant college, where agricultural and food science course work and research takes place. If career in agricultural or food science is appealing to you, it's a good idea to choose a specialty, and then find a college or university that provides the focused education you need.
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.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.
Search for substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.
Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management standards.
Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
Demonstrate products to clients.
Develop new food items for production, based on consumer feedback.
Stay up-to-date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.
Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.
Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Interacting With Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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.
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
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.
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
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