Food safety and quality, What's in it for you?
Attention students (or former food scientists), this post will reveal you a new world of possibilities after graduation.
I had the opportunity of talking with an expert in food quality and the chat could not have been more eye opening!
In the past, when I thought about food quality, I could only imagine a big lab where samples from the processing line were taken and analyzed for bacteria, allergens, and other risks for the clients. I'm sure, you, typical article- reading student, thought the same.
But this is just one of their duties.
From audits to the different departments and clients (here explained), to follow new products from the raw materials, processing and final product, this experts have the responsibility of taking care that all the ingredients are in correspondence with the ISO regulations, country specific regulations, and any other safety issues.
In big companies the trust of their clients is the principal objective. Therefore when a new order comes in, quality assurance will make sure that the methods and HACCP, are followed by all the departments in charge of the production, and will also know who the client needs to reach in the case of doubts or problems.
When the final product is ready, it needs approval and correct labeling before being sent to the customers, and quality are the ones in charge of producing detailed sheets for each ingredient and product. (They are like recipes!)
And there is even more! Apart from taking care that the specifications of each order and product are met, Food quality departments in many occasions will help the continuous improvement of flow in the business, calculating how cost-effective new products are for the company, and advising cost-effective measures.
The customer focus was one of the aspects that more surprised me, with the fact that this job is also a desktop job.
And this is good news if you are serviced oriented, detailed, and able of taking care of a large list of duties simultaneously. With of course food science knowledge to advise your clients.
Even though there is no formal education that will teach you the infinite duties in this position, enthusiasm for food and ability to learn on training (and maybe reading some ISO regulations before-hand) will help you to start with the best asset.
To sum up, quality experts are in charge of the heart running of food industry :)
For me, taking such central role in your clients satisfaction and departmental production sounds like a very rewarding job.
So now students, think twice about food quality, there is a lot for you in it.
And if you are a food quality expert, We would love to hear your advice to get started in this field.
By Javier Gines Galera
April 1st, 2015