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Welcome to Food Science Club

The Club

The purpose of the UMaine Food Science Club is to develop relationships among students and faculty in the Department of Food Science, learn about the food industry in order to give students a full perspective of employment and contacts.

2014 College Bowl meeting dinner

What is the study of food science?

Food science is a discipline concerned with all technical aspects of food, beginning with harvesting or slaughtering, and ending with its cooking and consumption. It is considered one of the agricultural sciences, and is usually considered distinct from the field of nutrition.

Examples of the activities of food scientists include:
Development of new food products
Design of processes to produce these foods
Choose packaging materials and design shelf-life studies
Sensory evaluation of the product with trained expert panels or potential consumers, Microbiological and chemical testing to ensure food safety.

Food scientists at universities may study more fundamental phenomena that are directly linked to the production of particular food product and its properties. In the U.S., food science is typically studied at land-grant universities.

Food in measuring jarsFood science is a highly interdisciplinary applied science. It incorporates concepts from many different fields including microbiology, chemical engineering, biochemistry, and many others.

Some of the sub-disciplines of food science include:

  • Food safety – the causes, prevention and communication dealing with food-borne illness
  • Food microbiology – the positive and negative interactions between micro-organisms and foods
  • Food preservation – the causes and prevention of quality degradation
  • Food engineering – the industrial processes used to manufacture food
  • Product development – the invention of new food products
  • Sensory analysis – the study of how food is perceived by the consumer’s senses
  • Food chemistry – the molecular composition of food and the involvement of these molecules in chemical reactions
  • Food packaging – the study of how food is packaged to preserve the food after it has been processed.
  • Molecular gastronomy – the scientific investigation of processes in cooking, social & artistic gastronomical phenomena
  • Food technology – the technological aspects
  • Food physics – the physical aspects of foods (such as viscosity, creaminess, texture…)

The main organization in the United States regarding food science and food technology is the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), headquarter in Chicago, Illinois, which is the US member organization of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST). The European national organizations are organized into the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST).