Nurturing the next generation of food scientists

July 30, 2008

Foodnavigator.com

The number of food science graduates is falling across the globe, but measures are in place to halt the decline. Has disaster been averted? Is the industry’s future assured?

There is no room for complacency, says Dr John D. Floros, President of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). In an exclusive interview with Stephen Daniells, Dr Floros voices his concerns about student numbers and what IFT is doing to turn the tide.

“Fewer food scientists means industry is not able to fill positions,” said Dr Floros, also head of the Department of Food Science at Pennsylvania State University. “It is trying to fill in the gaps with other disciplines, like chemists, physicists, biologists, and engineers, but with this approach there is only so much you can do.”

Dr Floros, working with Naveen Chikthimmah, also from Penn State, attacked the problem head on with a survey to assess the numbers of food scientists in the North America. The results, published in Food Technology (March 2007), showed a “fairly sharp decline over the last five to ten years,” said Dr Floros.

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