Under the supervision of scientists, agricultural and food science technicians measure and analyze the quality of food and agricultural products.
Specific duties of these technicians vary, depending on their specialty.
Agricultural technicians typically do the following:
Food science technicians typically do the following:
Agricultural technicians who work in private industry focus on the condition of crops and animals, not on processed foods. These workers may prepare samples for analyses, ensure that samples meet proper safety standards, and test crops and animals for disease.
Food science technicians who work in private industry inspect food and crops, including processed food, to ensure the product is fit for distribution. A large portion of food science technicians’ time is spent inspecting foodstuffs, chemicals, and additives to determine whether they are safe and have the proper combination of ingredients.
Agricultural and food science technicians who work for the federal government monitor regulatory compliance for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture, and other agencies. As a result of the recent passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the frequency of food inspections has increased, along with improvements in performance standards.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition