Food Processing and Technology Development
Graduate students in Food Processing and Engineering apply basic concepts of engineering, chemistry and microbiology to solve food processing and packaging problems. Emphasis is placed on in-depth understanding of food processing unit operations to produce safe, high quality and value-added products. Research areas include: biomass conversion to food and other industrial products, bioseparations, mathematical modeling, process optimization, physical properties, transport phenomena, aseptic processing, minimal processing, in-line sensors and process control, and development of new processes, packages and products.
Food Processing and Engineering specialists quantify, model and optimize processing conditions to produce safe, wholesome, and value-added products. They study improvements in packaging, handling and storage environments for fresh and processed foods.
They investigate kinetics of quality change, microbial destruction or nutrient change during processing of food products, and use the information to design, optimize and scale-up processes.
Food Processing and Engineering specialists are employed by food industries, equipment or ingredient manufacturers, trade associations, governmental agencies, academic institutions and consulting companies. In the food industry, processing specialists may be a member of process/product development or improvement team, a quality assurance or manufacturing supervisor or manager, or a technical consultant for problem solving. In trade associations, they do research and development, provide training and technical assistance for industrial members, and help in regulatory compliance. In academia, specialists are involved in teaching, research and extension in all aspects of food processing and engineering. In governmental agencies, processing specialists work for the USDA, FDA or state health departments, in research, training, compliance and inspection. Processing specialists also work for consulting companies to provide technical assistance, trouble shooting, and plant or process design/installation services.