Food technician

Description

Food technicians assist food technologists in the deveolpment of processes for manufacturing foodstuffs and related products based on chemical, physical, and biological principles. They perform research and experiments on ingredients, additives and packaging. Food technicians also check product quality to ensure compliance with legislation and regulations.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to food technician:

food tech expert
food technology expert
food technology specialist
food tech specialist

Minimum qualifications

High school diploma is generally required to work as food 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.

Food technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Food technician career path

Similar occupations

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

dairy processing technician
food analyst
food regulatory advisor
animal feed supervisor
green coffee coordinator

Long term prospects

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

food production engineer
food technologist
food and beverage packaging technologist
food production manager
prepared meals nutritionist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

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

Food product ingredients: Technical features of the formulation of ingredients for food products.
Pathogenic microorganisms in food: The identification and characteristics of pathogenic micro-organisms in food and the adequate prevention methods to inhibit its reproduction in food materials.
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.
Functional properties of foods: Structure, quality, nutritional value and/or acceptability of a food product. A food functional property is determined by physical, chemical and/or organoleptic properties of a food. Examples of a functional property may include solubility, absorption, water retention, frothing ability, elasticity, and absorptive capacity for fats and foreign particles.

 
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.
Food preservation: Deterioration factors, controlling factors (temperature, additives, humidity, pH, water activity, etc., including packaging) and food processing methods to preserve food products.
Processes of foods and beverages manufacturing: Raw materials and production processes for getting finished food products. Importance of quality control and other techniques for the food and beverage industry.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of food technician.

Monitor ingredient storage: Monitor ingredient storage and expiry dates via weekly reporting leading to good stock rotation and reduction of waste.
Set up equipment for food production: Set up machinery and equipment for food production. Make sure that controls, settings, and input requirements are according to the required standards.
Manage delivery of raw materials: Manage reception of raw materials. Receive raw materials from the suppliers. Check for quality and accuracy and move into the warehouse. Make sure that raw materials are adequately stored until they are required by the production department.
Manage packaging material: Managing all packaging materials be they primary (wrapping, cans, bottles) or secondary (cartons, crates, pallets).
Ensure public safety and security: Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
Clean food and beverage machinery: Clean machinery used for food or beverage production processes. Prepare the appropriate solutions for cleaning. Prepare all parts and assure that they are clean enough to avoid deviation or errors in the production process.
Apply haccp: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
Manage all process engineering activities: Managing all process engineering activities in the plant keeping track of plant maintenance, improvement and requirements for effective production.
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.
Monitor the production line: Monitor the production line for problems such as pile-ups and jams.
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).
Prepare visual data: Prepare charts and graphs in order to present data in a visual manner.
Carry out checks of production plant equipment: Carry out checks of the machinery and equipment used in the production plant. Ensure that the machinery is working properly, set machines before usage, and assure continuous operability of the equipment.
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
Monitor freezing processes: Monitoring freezing processes to ensure product is adequately frozen. Assessing temperature levels and ensuring energy efficiency and product refrigeration.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

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

Legislation about animal origin products: The applicable legal rules on temperature, waste materials, traceability, labelling, trading, and the transport of animal origin products. 
Food canning production line: Steps in the canning process line from washing, conditioning and weighing food products, washing and preparing cans, filling cans, as well as other operations in order to obtain the end product.
Food materials: Quality and range of raw materials, half finished products and end products of a specific food sector.
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.
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.
Combination of flavours: The large range of combinations of flavours to develop new recipes or products.
Combination of textures: The combination of textures for new recipes or products.
Cleaning of reusable packaging: Methods of cleaning and disinfecting reusable packaging to prevent or remove deposits of organic or inorganic nature of the packaging.
Fermentation processes of beverages: Fermentation processes related to the conversion of sugar to alcohol, gases and acids. 
Laboratory-based sciences: Laboratory based sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, integrated science or advanced laboratory science.

Optional skills and competences

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

Develop new food products: Conduct experiments, produce sample products, and perform research as part of new food product development (NPD).
Operate automated process control: Operate process control or automation system (PAS) used to control a production process automatically.
Adjust production schedule: Adjust work schedule in order to maintain permanent shift operation.
Check the quality of raw materials at reception: Check the quality of raw materials by assessing its taste, smell, colour, or any other characteristic depending on the product.
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.
Analyse packaging requirements: Analyses packaging requirement against the design of the production plan. Perform the analysis considering engineering, economic, ergonomic, and other perspectives.
Follow-up lab results: Analyse lab results and apply them by adapting the production process. Report, review and take appropriate measures if necessary.
Check quality of products on the production line: Check products for quality on the production line and remove defective items before and after packaging.
Administer ingredients in food production: ngredients to be added and the required amounts according to the recipe and the way those ingredients are to be administered.
Ensure quality of final product: Ensure that finished products meet or exceed company specifications.
Be at ease in unsafe environments: Be at ease in unsafe environments like being exposed to dust, rotating equipment, hot surfaces, sub-freezing and cold storage areas, noise, wet floors and moving lift equipment.
Monitor coating specifications: Monitoring that specifications such as colour, shape, glaze, texture, weight, depth of coating are met.
Participate in the development of new food products: Participate in the development of new food products together within a cross-functional team. Bring technical knowledge and perspective to the development of new products. Perform research. Interpret results for food product development.
Monitor processing conditions: Observe gauges, video monitors, and printouts to assess if specified processing conditions are in place. Make the necessary adjustments to process variables such as times, inputs, flow rates and temperature settings.
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.
Calibrate laboratory equipment: Calibrate laboratory equipment by comparing between measurements: one of known magnitude or correctness, made with a trusted device and a second measurement from another piece of laboratory equipment. Make the measurements in as similar a way as possible.
Plan shifts of employees: Plans shifts of employees to ensure completion of all customer orders and satisfactory completion of the production plan.
Evaluate ingredient documentation from suppliers: Read, organise and evaluate documentation on ingredients from suppliers and co-manufacturers. Identify deficiencies and enquire for clarifications and corrective actions as per regulatory demands.
Monitor developments used for food industry: Identifying and exploring developments and innovation in technology and materials in the food industry.
Follow hygienic procedures during food processing: Ensure a clean working space according to hygienic standards in the food processing industry.
Manage resources in food manufacturing: Managing resources to ensure sufficient and appropriate trained staff to ensure consistent performance.
Read engineering drawings: Read the technical drawings of a product made by the engineer in order to suggest improvements, make models of the product or operate it.
Apply food technology principles: Food technology: a branch of food science that deals with the production processes to make foods and improve processes aimed at processing foodstuffs.
Investigate customer complaints: Investigate customer complaints in order to determine the non-satisfactory elements in food products that lead to complaints from customers.
Mitigate waste of resources: Evaluate and identify opportunities to use resources more efficiently with continuously striving to reduce waste of utilities.
Perform quality audits: Execute regular, systematic and documented examinations of a quality system for verifying conformity with a standard based on objective evidence such as the implementation of processes, effectiveness in achieving quality goals and reduction and elimination of quality problems.
Select adequate packaging for food products: Choose the appropriate packages for food products taking into account attractiveness and suitability of the package. Use proper packaging for sending it safely and at a reasonable cost. Have awareness that packaging can also influence the product characteristics such as shape, weight or solidity. Balance out various aspects such as cost, attractivity and compliance with regulations and environment protection.
Apply control process statistical methods: Apply statistical methods from Design of Experiments (DOE) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) in order to control manufacturing processes.
Perform food risk analysis: Perform food risks analysis for food safety assurance.
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.
Ensure full functioning of food plant machinery: Ensure and maintain manufacturing process equipment and ensure such machinery operates in a clean, organised environment in compliance with food safety requirements.
Analyse work-related written reports: Read and comprehend job-related reports, analyse the content of reports and apply findings to daily work operations.

ISCO group and title

3119 – Physical and engineering science technicians not elsewhere classified

 

 


 

 

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

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