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How Do I Study the Science of Food?

Much of food science involves studying the chemistry and microbiology processes of various foods.
Food science is a broad field that studies things like food composition, process, safety, nutrition, and consumption.
Hands-on lab experience with microbiology and chemistry experiments is required to become a food technologist.
Article Details
  • Written By: Barbara R. Cochran
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Food science is the study of food's nature and deterioration, as well as its processing and improvement. As a result, anyone who wants to study the science of food will have to learn and/or incorporate multidisciplinary knowledge to earn his or her degree. For example, at the undergraduate level, a student typically takes courses that cover areas like food chemistry and analysis, nutrition, quality control, and food sanitation. In the latter case, students also have to also acquire knowledge of microbiology.

To study food science at the graduate level, a student's undergraduate degree, if not in food science, should be in engineering, or physical or biological science. Those with just an undergraduate degree in the field might find jobs as food science technicians or research analysts. For the study of the science of food at the graduate level, one usually has to be interested in doing extensive research. There are some programs, however, that put emphasis on practice. If a person earns a PhD in Food Science, he or she might seek out a teaching post at a university, be involved in research, or perhaps fill the role of a consultant to companies or other experts involved in the food industry.

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In the United States, the science of food can also be studied at junior colleges or technical schools. Students in those kinds of programs will typically be required to take courses in agricultural and food science, biology, chemistry, and statistics. If the program is successfully completed, the student will be awarded a certificate or associate’s degree. Graduates can then work as food science lab technicians, among other options.

People who study the science of food are typically concerned with the satisfaction and good health of end consumers. The field has far-reaching impact, since every living being has to consume food. Those who practice the science of food are always looking for new products that are healthy and likely to delight the palate. Therefore, as an example, someone who is studying the science of food might look into ways of transforming a basic food, such as wheat, into a new, low-calorie brand of English muffin. The science of food is also concerned with people's safety: food scientists are developing ways to ensure longer and longer shelf life for food, as well ways to prevent its microbiological contamination.

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