A major goal of the U.S. is to provide a sufficient variety of foods throughout the year to meet the energy and nutrient needs of its citizens, promote health, and export value-added food products that improve our international competitiveness and trade balance and create jobs. Our food supply must be safe and properly preserved to maintain high quality, yet must be low enough in cost for all to have access to a nutritionally adequate diet, irrespective of income. This responsibility is in the hands of the Food Scientist.
Food Scientists work on the scientific and technological aspects of processing food and related products. Using their pooled knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and engineering, they create high-tech foods to reduce the risk of disease and determine how safe and nutritious our food will be, and how long and well it will keep. They also explore and analyze the many questions that have to be asked -- and answered -- before a new product can go on the market.
Next time you walk into a supermarket, take a closer look at all those shelves upon shelves of cereals, fruit juices, dairy products, and microwavable convenience foods. These are some of the everyday items available because food scientists find ways to keep plant and animal products appetizing and nutritious, and to stop them from spoiling.
At the international level, food scientists play a key role in the never-ending quest for wholesome, plentiful, inexpensive food for the world's growing population. As the United States strives to remain the world's leading food supplier, food science will continue to be vital to the food industry. Technology is the answer and it will be up to the food scientist to provide this technology.