Food Technologist

Food technologists monitor food production and food safety.  

Fast Facts & Skills

Details

Education & Training: 

A high school diploma may be sufficient but food science technologists often need an Associates degree in Food Science, Microbiology, Biotechnology, or a related field.

Additional certifications:

  • HACCP certified preferred

Common requirements and abilities:

  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and e-mail
  • Must be able to read, write and communicate effectively in English, bilingual in Spanish is a plus
  • Demonstrate knowledge of Good Manufacturing Practices policies and procedures as well as GLPs and GDPs
  • Able to perform mathematical calculations including addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, ratios, and percentages
  • Able to follow written or verbal instructions
  • Demonstrate good written and verbal communication skills
  • Must efficiently utilize time and be able to work with minimal supervision
  • Detail-oriented

Food technologists collect and prepare samples following established procedures; test food, food additives, and food containers to ensure they comply with established safety standards; analyze chemical properties of food to determine ingredients and formulas; and keep a safe, sterile laboratory environment.  When working in private industry, food technologists inspect food and crops during processing to ensure products are fit for distribution or to investigate ways to improve efficiency. Many Food technologists spend time inspecting foodstuffs, chemicals, and additives to determine whether they are safe and have the proper combination of ingredients.

Food technologists may specialize in microbiology and processing technology.

Food technologists are required to comply with FDA regulations. They must follow the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Safe Quality Food (SQF) standards, and safety rules (including Personal Protective Equipment -PPE); and enforce all of these practices, standards, and rules with all employees. They conduct GMP inspections and report deviations from Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Safe Quality Food (SQF) standards, and any unsafe work conditions to supervisors.

They use measuring instruments and calibrate thermometers, scales, and other lab equipment.

The must ensure formulas are present for all manufacturing runs and that formulas are following. They also inspect raw materials that will be used in production.

Food technologists who work for the federal government monitor regulatory compliance for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture, and other agencies. With the recent passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the frequency of food inspections is expected to increase, along with improvements in performance standards. The FSMA also requires more inspections of foreign food production facilities that export to the United States, so some agricultural and food science technicians may travel internationally.

Alternative job titles:  Food Safety Quality Assurance Technician.

Where to Work and Learn

Example Employers: 

InnovATEBIO programs offer degrees, certificates, or teach skills in these related areas.

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