Offered by: Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, Human Nutrition and Food Science Department
The Food Science and Technology (FST) Bachelor of Science curriculum at Cal Poly Pomona is an interdisciplinary program that draws faculty and courses from Human Nutrition and Food Science, and other science, applied science, and business programs. Students have the option of choosing science and technology, business, culinology®, or preprofessional (for students interested in pre-vet, pre-med or pre-dental academics) emphases while moving through a curriculum designed to meet the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) undergraduate standards and guidelines. Students will be able to tailor the program to their general interests and career goals by choosing one of the following career emphases.
Science and Technology
This emphasis stresses learning scientific concepts with the application of technology. It provides the opportunity to expand beyond the background provided by the core courses of the major. This emphasis is for students interested in pursuing a master's and/or a doctoral program in a science or technology field in the future. In addition, this emphasis provides additional background for research and development jobs in industry and the public sector and it will prepare one to become a food chemist, food microbiologist, or a food-processing technologist. By carefully selecting electives, students may also earn a minor in chemistry, microbiology, or foods and nutrition.
This emphasis applies food science and technology knowledge to marketing and entrepreneurship. With a science and technology foundation and an emphasis in business, students can successfully compete for food industry jobs in project management, technical sales, marketing and advertising. This emphasis is designed for students interested in pursuing a Master of Business administration (MBA) program later on.
Culinology is a trademark of the Research Chefs Association (RCA). This emphasis is one of few programs approved by RCA in the U.S. The curriculum blends food science and culinary arts and will provide tools to successfully develop new foods for retail and food service consumption. This emphasis is particularly attractive to those interested in product development. Students will receive a bachelor's degree in Food Science and Technology under the Institute of Food Technologists' guidelines while taking a number of courses in Culinary Arts.
The Pre-professional emphasis prepares students for a degree in Food Science and Technology while preparing them to enter veterinary, medical, and other professional graduate programs. With professional degree in veterinary sciences, an undergraduate degree in FST will prepare students to be successful in jobs related to inspection, safety, and processing of animal foods.
The major was established in fall 1999 in response to increasing demands from the fast-growing Southern California food industry for food scientists and technologists. It allows students to apply knowledge from basic disciplines such as chemistry, microbiology, physics and engineering to different areas of Food Science and Technology such as food chemistry, food processing, sensory evaluation, food analysis, product development, packaging, and food safety among others. Competencies in these areas enable graduates to succeed in the food industry as well as in local and federal governmental agencies as they face challenges in food manufacturing, research and development, quality control, food regulations, and marketing.
The type of work performed by food scientists includes research, interpretation, and application of information regarding the basic composition, structure and properties of foods. They study the chemistry of changes occurring during processing and utilization of food products by consumers, process design for commercial food processing, selection and application of unit operations for the production of processed foods, optimization of processing parameters, selection and application of microbiological and chemical analyses for food products; establishment and implementation of Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOPs), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems in food processing facilities; monitoring for compliance with government, company and industry standards for quality or safety of food products; product development and improvement, product formulation, selection and application of ingredients; food packaging selection and testing; establishment of quality assurance systems in food processing facilities, training of plant employees in technical, quality and safety aspects.
Cal Poly Pomona is uniquely positioned for this program because of its 1) accessibility to a vast labor market for graduates, 2) diversified faculty, and 3) excellent agricultural and technological facilities and laboratories.
High school students planning to major in Food Science and Technology are advised to build a background in foods, chemistry, mathematics, physics and biology. Community college students should concentrate on chemistry (including organic), biology (including microbiology), math, statistics, communication skills and general education.
Because the food industry serves a basic human need, a career in food science is a wise choice, as it does not generally experience the economic fluctuations of other industries. The growing industry needs to improve the quality, quantity, variety, and safety of foods, coupled with the growing public demand for healthier, more convenient foods, virtually ensures the stability of employment for food scientists.
Students completing the Food Science and Technology program will be prepared for careers in a variety of areas: 1) Food industry: quality control, product development, food marketing, food processing, food microbiology, food engineering and food analysis; 2) University and private laboratories: research, extension, consulting; 3)Government agencies: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), State and local health departments and other agencies; 4) International agencies: World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank and nonprofit organizations, international research centers; 6) Graduate school: food science and technology with specialization in food engineering, food chemistry or food microbiology; dairy science, meat science, post-harvest physiology and technology, cereal science, meat science, enology, agricultural and biological engineering, biotechnology, public health, packaging, and toxicology.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is the main professional group for food scientists with more than 28,000 members. The Institute also has an active Student Association (IFTSA). The Southern California Section of IFT (SCIFTS) provides many opportunities for scholarships and professional networking at the local level through regular activities.