How to become an Agricultural Food Scientist in South Africa
In Agricultural Food Scientist is a specific kind of scientist that specializes in analyzing farming methods and food production procedures to increase yield, safety, and other factors.
What Does an Agricultural Food Scientist Do?
Agricultural and Food Scientists conduct experiments and analyze data about crops and food production methods. These scientists may also use their findings to create new and innovative ways to increase agricultural output or improve the quality of our food supply. Sometimes this work involves traveling to farms and other specific sites to obtain samples. They must then communicate their findings and prospective solutions to other members of the scientific community and sometimes policy-makers as well. More experienced Agricultural and Food Scientists may lead and coordinate an entire team of researchers.
Where Does an Agricultural Food Scientist Work?
Agricultural and Food Scientists spend the majority of their days in laboratories and offices. Their time is spend analyzing data and creating detailed reports using advanced computer software. At times, these scientists may be required to perform fieldwork that requires them to travel to a farm or food processing plant. These trips may involve carefully following safety procedures, working in adverse weather conditions, or dealing with loud noises from heavy machinery.
Most work full-time on regular schedules, though travel to certain sites of interest may be required during normal hours.
Food Scientist Educational Requirements
Depending on the positions in which they serve, food scientists might hold an undergraduate or graduate degree. Bachelor’s degrees in agricultural science or related sciences may be adequate for positions in farming and food processing technology. Food scientists who work in research positions at academic institutions are typically required to hold at least a master’s degree, and those who wish to teach generally need a doctorate.
Aspiring food scientists can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural or food science. Bachelor of Science in Food Science programs typically focus on agricultural science and technology applicable to entry-level positions in the food industry. Courses may include food processing and packaging, agricultural analysis and chemistry, dairy biology, nutrition and food law. These programs may also offer opportunities to gain hands-on, industry experience through internships.
Master’s and doctoral programs in food science usually focus on advanced, specialized training. These programs incorporate classroom and laboratory instruction in technology and principles of food engineering. Courses may include food microbiology and chemistry, preservation, food safety and research methods. Ph.D. programs may also involve teaching instruction or teaching assistantships. Graduate students are typically required to complete thesis projects or dissertations.