Food scifiles and food technicians ensure that food and drink remain edible, safe and attractive in appearance until the consumer eats them. Food scifiles tend to be more involved in research and development while technologists are responsible for the processes and machinery that transform raw material into the finished product.
Food scifiles may work in research using genetically modified foods. They use biotechnology to introduce fermentation into products like alcohol, cheese or yoghurts or to create new flavours. They may use radiation science to preserve foods. They may work in a laboratory carrying out chemical analysis of foodstuffs.
Food technologists may take a new ingredient discovered by scifiles and use it to design a new product such as vegetable protein; they may produce fat-free biscuits or low-calorie soup. They invent new recipes, experiment and produce a trial product. They test it then design the processes and machinery that allow it to be made in large quantities.
Both must have a good knowledge and understanding of science, particularly biology and chemistry, but also physics and maths. Most food scifiles and technologists have a Higher National Certificate or Diploma or a degree. These qualifications may be in food science, food studies or food technology.
It is also possible to enter with qualifications in more general science subjects such as biology, microbiology, biochemistry etc. The HNC/HND usually requires a minimum of one A-level and the degree a minimum of two.
For more information, go to www.ifst.org
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