Consumers are becoming more informed in their food choices than ever before. These days, the average shopper reads every label on the products they buy, comparing nutritional value details as well as safety and allergy information. Governments around the globe have also begun imposing very strict regulations and health guidelines on the food industry, so companies must be more vigilant than ever when it comes to food quality control.
For those interested in careers in food safety, this growing awareness means that they can look forward to greater opportunities in their chosen career.
If you’re planning to pursue a food safety diploma, or have already started your program, read on to find out how your quality assurance training can lead to a rewarding career as a product tester.
Why Food Safety Diploma Students Should Consider Product Testing
Today’s food manufacturers need to carry out stringent quality checks to ensure that their products meet the rising standards that the public demands. As a result, job opportunities in food quality assurance and quality control are growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that demand for quality control inspectors will grow 6% by 2022, while jobs in agricultural and food science are expected to rise 9% in the same period of time.
What to Expect from a Food Quality Assurance Work Environment
Food safety diploma students tend to be passionate about all sorts of foods, and a career in product testing can offer them the opportunity to work in some of the food areas they enjoy most. For example, someone with a sweet tooth may end up working as a product tester for a chocolate manufacturer.
Of course, product testing is a rigorous, scientific process. Product testers work in teams of food science professionals, analyzing biological, chemical and physical properties of food, to develop new recipes and ensure products meet quality standards.
Key Areas of Food Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Professionals with quality assurance training can find themselves working in a number of stages of the product testing process. There are many areas of food quality control, some of these include:
- Food Allergen Testing: Manufacturers using complex recipes can be uncertain whether their ingredients contain trace element of common food allergens, such as milk, wheat or peanuts. Food allergen tests determine whether any known allergens are present.
- 2. Shelf-Life Testing: Product testers perform microbiological testing to properly determine product expiration dates.
- 3. Food Nutrition Analysis: Products need to be lab tested in order to analyze nutritional value and produce the nutrition facts labels that most retail food products must carry.
- 4. Food Safety Analysis: Ensuring safety standards are met requires food products to undergo microbiological analysis to ensure no known contaminants are present.
What Food Quality Employers Look For in a Product Tester
Companies seeking to hire product testers often recruit graduates from a number of different fields within food science, food safety and nutrition, as well as scientists in microbiology and chemical engineering. Employers also look favourably on a number of other key attributes.
For example, any culinary training or real-world experience working with food can help when dealing with product development or food safety. For graduates looking to get into tasting or product development, it’s also important to enjoy a diverse range of foods, and avoid habits like smoking and drinking, since they tend to scar the palette.
Are you interested in pursuing a food safety diploma in Toronto?
Visit AAPS for more information or to speak to an advisor.