What are the 5 Areas of Food Science?

Food science education in the United States is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology, and engineering. These guidelines identify five main areas of food science: food chemistry, food microbiology, food processing, food engineering, and food analysis. Food microbiology is a key area of focus for product development, as it focuses on the interaction between microorganisms and food. It is concerned with bacteria, molds, yeasts, and viruses.

Food safety and quality are two areas of special importance for product development. Food safety is concerned with the prevention of pathogens in food. It is almost impossible to eliminate microorganisms from any food, but many steps can be taken to slow their growth or inactivate them. Food science is developing very sensitive and rapid techniques to identify pathogenic microorganisms and the toxins they produce in food, as well as packaging and processes that inhibit their growth and reduce their survival rate.

Food engineers are responsible for developing concepts that processors use to convert raw materials into safe and durable foods. High-pressure processing (HPP) is a non-thermal or “cold pasteurization” process developed to allow the production of fruit and vegetable juices without any of the harmful effects of heat treatments. HPP does not alter the nutritional profile of juices, so there is no need to fortify them. Nutritionists often associate heat processing with detrimental effects on the nutritional quality of foods, but recent research has shown that heating tomatoes increases the level of a cancer-fighting phytochemical called lycopene.

Food technologists are responsible for the safety and quality of products that thousands of people could eat every day. They must be familiar with five fields of food science: food microbiology, food engineering (26%), processing, food chemistry, nutrition and sensory analysis. To help consumers make informed decisions about the food they consume, IFT has developed IFT Food Facts to provide consumers with news that they can use in their daily lives. Food research is the careful and systematic study, research and collection of information on foods and their components. The greater dependence of society on ready-to-eat foods has led processors to assume greater responsibility in terms of quality, safety and nutrition.

To be a successful food scientist and help manage the world's food supply to the maximum, you need to understand all five areas of food science: food chemistry, food microbiology, food processing, food engineering, and food analysis. Food scientists and technologists are versatile professionals who are at the crossroads of scientific and technological advances.

Sally Koepke
Sally Koepke

Certified web trailblazer. General twitteraholic. Friendly beer advocate. Friendly zombie expert. Extreme social media enthusiast.

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