Food Science Technician

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Assist food scientists and technologists in food research and development, production technology, and quality control. Conduct tests on food additives, preservatives, and more. Work to ensure compliance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations regarding color, texture, and nutrients. Analyze, record, and compile test results; order supplies to maintain laboratory inventory; and clean, sterilize, and maintain laboratory equipment.

The majority of food science technicians work for employers within the private sector. Many of these companies are involved in the production and distribution of the foods and beverages that are commonly sold in grocery stores or served in restaurants throughout the land. They are responsible for monitoring conditions during the food and beverage processing and packaging as well as for overall quality control. Some are involved in more basic and applied research as part of the development of new food and beverage products or improved ways to safely store and distribute existing ones.

A number of food science technicians work for various federal, state, or local government agencies that are responsible for enforcing food safety laws and regulations, including monitoring food and beverage production processes at plants and wholesale distribution sites. Among the more widely known government agencies of this kind is the U.S., Food and Drug Administration (FDA) one of the federal agencies responsible for ensuring the nation's food supply.

Food science technicians perform a range of standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine the physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products. They taste or smell foods or beverages to ensure that flavors meet requirements, and compute moisture, salt, or other content percentages for product quality control. Using a microscope and other means, they examine chemical and biological samples to identify cell structures or locate bacteria or other foreign materials. They also maintain, clean, and sterilize their laboratory equipment to ensure accurate readings and results.

Some food science technicians are involved with measuring, testing, and weighing bottles, cans, and other containers to ensure hardness, strength, and dimensions that meet specifications. Others may help with the mixture, blending, or cultivation of ingredients used to make food or beverage products on a day-to-day basis.

Whatever their area of focus, food science technicians record and compile their test results, prepare graphs and charts, and produce written reports. As part of this process, they analyze their test results to classify products or compare results with standard tables. Throughout all of their activities, they provide assistance to food scientists and technologists to help them meet their responsibilities for research and development, production technology, and quality control.

The occupation of food science technician is an entry-level employment position for which each business or government agency employer will determine the needed level of education and training. With experience, a food science technician may become a supervisor or manager. They may also aspire to become a dietitian or nutritionist with more education, training, and experience.

Credentials Needed: Food science technicians are not required to be state licensed or registered, although the private sector companies for which many work must comply with strict health and food safety rules and regulations, such as those administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture .

Some Key Things to Remember: Food science technicians assist food scientists and technologists in food research and development, production technology, and quality control. They are employed by a wide-range of private sector companies as well as federal, state, and local food and beverage inspection and safety agencies. Employers prefer to hire entry-level food science technicians who have an associate's or bachelor's degree in areas such as food science, nutrition, agriculture, biology, chemistry, or a related field.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
5% - Slower than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $29,700 - $47,980    Hourly: $14 - $23
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

5% - Slower than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $29,700 - $47,980

Hourly: $14 - $23