How to become a Food Technologist

Food technologists develop and improve existing food products and set standards for producing, packaging and marketing food. They use chemistry, microbiology, engineering and other scientific methods to study the process of food deterioration.

Personal requirements of a Food Technologist

  • Enjoy scientific activities
  • Able to take initiative
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Aptitude for mathematics, science and technology
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Strong reading and writing abilities
  • Good observation and communication skills
  • A high level of accuracy
  • Good physical health

Education & Training for a Food Technologist

To become a food technologist you usually have to study nutrition, nutrition and dietetics, food science or food technology at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology and chemistry are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Food Technologist

Food technologists may perform the following tasks:

  • ensure safe and hygienic conditions are maintained during processing, storage and packaging of food
  • check raw ingredients and processed food for nutritional value, safety and quality
  • undertake basic and applied research into aspects of food processing, food preservation, food quality, food deterioration, packaging, storage and delivery
  • check foods for colour, texture and taste to ensure products meet government regulations and standards
  • develop and ensure food standards
  • demonstrate products to clients
  • develop new products and devise the techniques needed to produce these foods and maintain quality during storage
  • supervise cleaning and maintenance of machinery used in food processing
  • compare products with those of other brands and participate in surveys that provide information to management about new products and market trends
  • supervise the transportation of foodstuffs such as fruit, vegetables and milk, and inspect for spoilage and quality deterioration
  • develop quality control procedures for the manufacture of products in plants or factories
  • analyse results and experimental data
  • supervise and coordinate the work of technicians.

Working conditions for a Food Technologist

Food technologists may be required to wear protective clothing.

Employment Opportunities for a Food Technologist

Food technologists work in food, confectionery, wine and beverage manufacturing firms, in departments such as research, marketing and distribution, quality assurance, new product development and production, as well as in the research and development of food standards regulation. Additional opportunities exist with equipment manufacturers, flavouring and food ingredient businesses and in the retail sector. Some food technologists are employed by government organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and others work in state and territory government departments concerned with the quality of processed foods. Significant numbers find employment in large country centres near where foods are grown and processed. Food technologists may undertake further study to gain employment as teachers or lecturers in VET and higher education institutions or as self-employed consultants to the food industry. Graduates of biochemistry, chemistry and microbiology may also find employment as food technologists. Seafood technologists are employed in many areas of the fishing industry, including quality control, factory management, developing new products and training fishers in the correct handling of seafood. Dairy technologists work for organisations that manufacture or sell dairy produce, marketing boards and dairy machinery manufacturers. Other dairy industry opportunities include advisory and control work in processing and distribution, grading and analysis, teaching and research.

Additional Information
Food technologists may be required to obtain a Provide First Aid Certificate, and undergo a National Police Check and medical exam.
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