The Many Facets of Food Engineering

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by Alex A. Kecskes

Producing safe and nutritious food for human and animal consumption remains a major challenge for today's food engineers.

Food engineering takes in a number of disparate disciplines, including food science, agriculture, microbiology, chemistry and engineering. It combines directed research, high-tech equipment and complex processes.

To achieve successful results, food engineering begins with raw food materials and looks at food in every stage--from processing and preserving to packaging, and final delivery to consumer markets. Genetic food engineering is also part of this field and addresses the needs of growing world populations as they struggle to make food more affordable and accessible.

Today, high-quality raw materials are increasingly handled and processed by special, computerized equipment in food processing plants. Here, food ingredients are extracted, separated and recombined into wide variety of food products.

Processed food is usually either heat treated or frozen to enhance its shelf life. Once it's "shippable," food must be suitably packaged. Here again, food engineering comes into play as packages are designed to preserve appearance and nutritional value while guarding against spoilage.

Food engineering jobs will be huge demand in the coming years and will require expertise in many disciplines.

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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.

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