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Food Science

The Breakdown

We can all agree that food is pretty vital to sustaining life.  But how do we assess the nutritional value of a meal?  How do we ensure that the steak you purchase in the grocery store is safe to eat?  And how do you guarantee that the squash you’re eating has favorable texture (outside of being prepared by a talented chef)?  These questions are tackled on a daily basis by food scientists.  If your ideal course of study combines science, engineering and nutrition then food science is probably the direction you are headed.

Food science lies at the cross section of chemistry, biology, engineering, economics and nutrition (that’s a lot of academic overlap!).  Therefore, should you select food science as your major, you’ll likely have a diverse and varied course-load.  And through the aforementioned subjects, you’ll study how to produce healthy food that’s also accessible.  You will learn how to identify and prevent food-borne illnesses, how to improve the quality of consumer products and the best food preservation techniques.  You’ll also become quite astute at identifying the components and compounds that make up certain foods.  And you might even discover how to engineer and develop new food items.  Sounds both fascinating and delicious right?      

By and large, most food science majors have an inquisitive nature.  They are also highly analytical, detail-oriented and endowed with strong quantitative skills.  And, most importantly, their favorite wall décor is the food pyramid. 


Nuts and Bolts

As a food science major, you’ll get a great handle on the industry through fascinating classes such as: Food Analysis, Organic Chemistry, Food Engineering Principles, Nutrition and Health, Food Safety Assurance, Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism, Sensory Evaluation of Foods, Food Microbiology, Food Fermentation and Thermal Processing, Food Plant Sanitation, Calculus and Topics in Toxicology.

Decisions, Decisions

With their love of all things culinary and the scientific process, food science majors are also likely to consider studying chemistry, biochemistry, dietetics, nutrition, agriculture, biology, culinary arts, pharmacology, genetics, botany, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, restaurant management studies or math. 

What's Next

Food science majors can face graduation day with confidence, knowing that there’ll always be a demand for their knowledge, skill-sets and talent.  After all, our need for safe, healthy and delicious food will remain a constant.  Of course, while job security sounds great you’re probably still wondering what you might be doing.  For starters, you’ll find food scientists in both the public and private sectors.  Indeed, they work in a variety of locations such as food manufacturing plants, food processing plants, farms, restaurants, food equipment suppliers and the government.  The work often involves research, regulation and/or product development and management. Additionally, possible job titles might include food chemist, quality assurance manager, food wholesaler, food packaging expert, food inspector and sensory scientist.  No matter your ultimate career path, you can feel gratified knowing you’re doing important work.



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Don Munce