Simply put, a food scientist studies food. Using many different scientific disciplines like biology, biochemistry, and chemical engineering, food science is used to improve food quality and food management.
Understanding the science behind food is not only interesting, it can help consumers make better choices about what to put on the dinner table. And because we all have to eat, the breakthroughs, discoveries, and innovations in food science have important consequences for everyone.
In fact, food science jobs are growing at an exceptionally fast rate. The Sacramento Bee reports that consumers’ growing food standards are opening doors for many enterprising food scientists, who play a large hand in keeping us healthy. Aspiring food scientists are often proficient in many different areas of cool science, including physics, biology, and fluid dynamics.
These scientists use their work to make food safer. For example, Cornell University has reported that researchers have found a compound that can thwart the deadly bacteria Listeria. Researchers screened 57,000 compounds, eventually teasing out fluro-phenyl-styrene-sulfonamide, a compound that inhabits Listeria and is nontoxic to mammals. Cornell professor Kathryn Boor said that while more research is needed to fully understand this finding, the results are promising. This method of finding non-harmful antibiotics could even be used in different fields.
In addition, The Washington Post reports another recent advance in meat science that could possibly keep humans safe. The FDA has urged drug companies to begin limiting the amount of antibiotics that are given to farm animals to help them stay healthy and gain weight. The FDA is hoping that these new guidelines will limit the use of antibiotics to when animals truly need them to remain healthy, and not as a preventative measure for every animal. This is a hard won victory against an agriculture industry that argues antibiotics are a necessary measure in modern food production.
Food science is important because food is a big part of life. These scientists work for safer practices, better food, and a healthier population.
- “FDA lays out steps to reduce overuse of antibiotics in animals raised for food”, The Washington Post
- “Researchers discover a compound that controls Listeria”, Cornell University Chronicle Online
- “So these jobs can be filled: Food science workshop prepares science teachers”, The Sacramento Bee
Food On The Table can make dinner easier. Learn how here.