In Summary - Food Technologist
The Work - Food Technologist
Food technicians work in food production. They test the safety and quality of food, and may help to research and develop products.
The aim of quality assurance is to avoid poor quality food by carrying chemical analysis at key stages of the production process. Food technicians use a very strict procedure called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). This means they can identify problems at each stage of production, and take steps to make sure the food is safe. For example, they test food for harmfulF micro-organisms that can cause food poisoning. They also have the responsibility for analysis and collection of results.
Technicians also test the materials used to package food, to make sure they meet national and European standards for safety and quality. They also provide back up and support to the Food Scientist.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
- Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management standards.
- Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.
- Study methods to improve aspects of foods, such as chemical composition, flavor, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience.
- Stay up-to-date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.
- Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
- Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
- Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
- Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.
- Study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Interests - Food Technologist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a food technician you will need a good general understanding of scientific techniques. You will also need to understand the principles of food processing and preservation, the composition of food and food hygiene. You must be able to work in teams, and on your own, depending on the demands of different projects.
Entry Requirements - Food Technologist
Pay & Salary - Food Technologist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 48k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Food Technologist
There is demand for operatives in the food processing sector, although at present, no indication of shortages exists. This occupation has one of the lowest shares of Irish nationals employed, at 57%.
National Skills Bulletin 2018