A food engineer is a type of engineer who works solely with food products. These engineers often have many different tasks ranging from the creation of new foods to identifying ways to preserve packaged foods longer.
Food manufacturing companies frequently employ food engineers for a variety of reasons. A person in this position may be asked to find ways to turn an unstable product, such as milk or cheese, into a shelf stable product. Some have the sole responsibility of finding different food additives that can prolong the shelf life of food. Typically, all packaged food has been handled by a food engineer at some point during the manufacturing process.
In some instances, companies hire these engineers to work on product packaging. Many different products cannot be subjected to air or sunlight, and a food engineer may be responsible for finding ways to protect foods from certain elements. Likewise, some products must be kept fresh even after a product has been opened by a consumer. Engineers who work within the food industry may spend a large portion of the workday attempting to keep products fresh for longer periods of time.
As with any other engineering discipline, a food engineer must obtain an engineering or food science degree in order to secure a job within this field. Individuals who wish to work in this field typically study food science, chemistry, and mathematics while taking college or university courses. An in-depth understanding of how food works, and how food interacts with certain chemicals, is needed in order for a person to become a food engineer.
A major part of a food engineer's responsibility is food safety. No matter what kind of project an engineer is currently working on, all professionals of this sort are expected to practice safe food guidelines. Engineers who work within the food industry must ensure that all packaged products are safe, that all safety equipment is functioning properly, and that all products sold to consumers are safe for consumption.
These individuals may also be responsible for preventing any product tampering by creating safe tamper-proof packaging. Some manufacturers also hire food engineers to manage large food plants in addition to working on supply chain problems. While these positions are less hands-on than other positions in the field, these engineers are needed to fulfill all aspects of food manufacturing.