Dairy processing technician

Description

Dairy processing technicians supervise and coordinate production processes, operations, and maintenance workers in milk, cheese, ice cream and/or other dairy production plants. They assist food technologists in improving processes, developing new food products and establishing procedures and standards for production and packaging.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to dairy processing technician:

dairy technician
dairy process technician
dairy employee

Minimum qualifications

Associate’s degree is generally required to work as dairy processing technician. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Dairy processing technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Dairy processing technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to dairy processing technician.

malt house supervisor
green coffee coordinator
animal feed supervisor
distillery supervisor
food technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of dairy processing technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of dairy processing technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

food production manager
cider master
animal feed nutritionist
food production engineer
brewmaster

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of dairy processing technician.

Legislation about animal origin products: The applicable legal rules on temperature, waste materials, traceability, labelling, trading, and the transport of animal origin products. 
Curdling of cheese: Process of curdling: the separation of the milk into solid curds and liquid whey. Usually this is done by souring the milk and adding rennet, either from a calf’s stomach or increasingly bacterial rennet.
Food safety principles: Scientific background of food safety which includes preparation, handling, and storage of food to minimise the risk of foodborne illness and other health hazards.
Milk production process: Managing the milk production steps in production plants such as pasteurising, separating, evaporating, drying, cooling, storing and so on.
Dairy products: Variety of products deriving from dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, and evaporated milk in liquid, solid or powdered form.
Dairy manufacturing specifications: Specifications, regulations and standards to be followed in the field of dairy manufacturing. Safety of products from raw materials through to packaged state.
Quality assurance methodologies: Quality assurance principles, standard requirements, and the set of processes and activities used for measuring, controlling and ensuring the quality of products and processes.
Food and beverage industry: The respective industry and the processes involved in the food and beverage industry, such as raw material selection, processing, packaging, and storage.
Microbiology of fresh milk: Types of bacteria present in milk before pasteurisation.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of dairy processing technician.

Give instructions to staff: Give instructions to subordinates by employing various communication techniques. Adjust communication style to the target audience in order to convey instructions as intended.
Act reliably: Proceed in a way that one can be relied on or depended on.
Oversee production requirements: Oversee production processes and prepare all the resources needed to maintain an efficient and continuous flow of production.
Use dairy test materials: Use the appropriate equipment for a range of tests on dairy in order to obtain reliable results.
Perform sensory evaluation: Evaluate the quality of a given type of food or beverage based on its appearance, smell, taste, aroma, and others. Suggest possible improvements and comparisons with other products.
Manage staff: Manage employees and subordinates, working in a team or individually, to maximise their performance and contribution. Schedule their work and activities, give instructions, motivate and direct the workers to meet the company objectives. Monitor and measure how an employee undertakes their responsibilities and how well these activities are executed. Identify areas for improvement and make suggestions to achieve this. Lead a group of people to help them achieve goals and maintain an effective working relationship among staff.
Follow written instructions: Follow written directions in order to perform a task or carry out a step-by-step procedure.
Apply haccp: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
Check quality of products on the production line: Check products for quality on the production line and remove defective items before and after packaging.
Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
Follow hygienic procedures during food processing: Ensure a clean working space according to hygienic standards in the food processing industry.
Schedule regular machine maintenance: Schedule and perform regular maintenance, cleaning, and repairs of all equipment. Order necessary machine parts and upgrade equipment when necessary to ensure optimal performance.
Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
Apply gmp: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Follow production schedule: Follow production schedule taking into account all requirements, times and needs. This schedule outlines what individual commodities must be produced in each time period and encapsulates various concerns like production, staffing, inventory, etc. It is usually linked to manufacturing where the plan indicates when and how much of each product will be demanded. Utilise all the information in the actual implementation of the plan.
Mitigate waste of resources: Evaluate and identify opportunities to use resources more efficiently with continuously striving to reduce waste of utilities.
Work in a food processing team: Collaborate in a team with other food processing professionals in service of the food and beverages industry.
Monitor milk production deviations: Monitor milk production processes for deviations and non-conformance.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of dairy processing technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Continuous improvement philosophies: Underlying ideas of quality management systems. Implementation process of lean manufacturing, Kanban, Kaizen, Total Quality Management (TQM) and other continuous improvement systems.
Variety of cheese: Variety of cheeses and the production process behind it. Formulation of cheese by coagulation of the milk protein casein. Classifications of cheese according to criteria such as length of ageing, country or region of origin, texture, methods of making, fat content, suitability for vegetarians and animal from which the milk comes.
Enzymatic processing: Enzymatic processes used in food production as well as in other industrial biotechnological processes.
Biotechnology: The technology that uses, modifies or harnesses biological systems, organisms and cellular components to develop new technologies and products for specific uses.
Food legislation: Legislation related to the food and feed industry including food manufacturing, hygiene, safety, raw materials, additives, GMOs, labelling, environmental and trade regulations.
Fermentation processes of food: Conversion of carbohydrates into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process happens using bacteria or yeasts, or a combination of the two under anaerobic conditions. Food fermentation is also involved in the process of leavening bread and the process of producing lactic acid in foods such as dry sausages, sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles, and kimchi.
Financial capability: Financial operations such as calculations, cost estimations, budget management taking relevant commercial and statistical data into account such as data for materials, supplies and manpower.
Food allergies: The types of food allergies within the sector, which substances trigger allergies, and how they can be replaced or eliminated (if possible).
Ripening of cheese: Cheese ripening processes whereby cheese ages and flavour intensifies as enzymes and micro-organisms transform texture. Biological process involved which is the breakdown of casein proteins and milk fat into a complex of amines, amino acids, and fatty acids.
Ice cream manufacturing regulations: Ice-cream manufacturing regulations and standards to be followed for safety reasons.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of dairy processing technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Operate a heat treatment process: Apply heat treatment aimed at preparing and preserving half-finished or finished food products.
Manage corrective actions: Implementing corrective action and continuous improvement plans from internal and third party audits to meet food safety and quality performance indicators with adherance to agreed timescales.
Keep inventory of goods in production: Keep inventory of goods whether they are goods in the front end (i.e. raw materials), intermediate, or back end (i.e. finished products). Count goods and store them for the following production and distribution activities.
Encourage teams for continuous improvement: Empower teams to identify opportunities for continuous improvement and then drive the process to improve the results.
Assist in the development of standard operating procedures in the food chain: Assist in the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the food chain by working with line operators. Understand current operating procedures and identify best techniques. Help document new procedures and update existing ones.
Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
Manage environmental management system: Develop and implement an environmental management system.
Control fluid inventories: Use and understand fluid inventories and associated calculations. Fluid inventory systems are designed to provide for the accurate dispensing of fluids throughout multiple dispense points avoiding spills.
Adjust drying process to goods: Adjust machine settings to adapt drying processes, drying times, and special treatments to the requirements of the goods to be dried.
Identify the factors causing changes in food during storage: recognize the most relevant factors (chemical, physical, environmental etc) that can alter the food during its storage
Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
Analyse production processes for improvement: Analyse production processes leading toward improvement. Analyse in order to reduce production losses and overall manufacturing costs.
Ensure compliance with environmental legislation in food production: Make sure to comply with environmental legislation in food production. Understand the legislation related to environmental matters in food manufacturing and apply it in practice.
Label samples: Label raw material/ product samples for laboratory checks, according to implemented quality system.

ISCO group and title

3122 – Manufacturing supervisors

 

 


 

 

References
  1. Dairy processing technician – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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