Food Scientists and Technologists

Description

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.

Tasks

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

Knowledge

Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

Skills

Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Stamina
The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
Speed of Limb Movement
The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
Static Strength
The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
Gross Body Equilibrium
The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
Dynamic Strength
The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.
Gross Body Coordination
The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
Extent Flexibility
The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.

Interests

Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Work Style

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Work Values

Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Lay Titles

Compliance Coordinator
Confectionery Laboratory Manager
Dairy Bacteriologist
Enologist
Food Chemist
Food Safety Director
Food Scientist
Food Technologist
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Coordinator (HACCP Coordinator)
Hybrid Corn Breeder
Laboratory Manager (Lab Manager)
Laboratory Technician (Lab Technician)
Microbiologist
Process Engineer
Product Development Manager
Product Development Scientist
Quality Assurance Director (QA Director)
Quality Assurance Manager (QA Manager)
Quality Control Inspector (QC Inspector)
Research and Development Director (R & D Director)
Research and Development Manager (R & D Manager)
Research Chef
Research Scientist
Swine Nutritionist
Technical Director

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$27.92 hourly, $58,070 annual.
Employment (2008):
13,680 employees