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What Food Processing Operators Do

Food processing operators include food batchmakers and food cooking machine operators and tenders. These workers may set up, operate, and tend cooking equipment that mixes, blends, cooks, or otherwise processes ingredients used to manufacture food products.


Food processing operators typically do the following:

Although workers in food processing operations share many similar duties, there are differences depending on the work being done. The following are types of food processing operators:

Food batchmakers are more likely to work in facilities producing baked goods, pasta, and tortillas. They mix ingredients to make dough, load and unload ovens, operate noodle extruders, and do tasks specific to large-scale commercial baking.

Food cooking machine operators and tenders operate or tend cooking equipment to prepare food products. For example, workers who preserve and can fruits and vegetables usually operate equipment that boils water to cook and preserve their products.

Potato and corn chip manufacturers employ workers who operate frying machines and work around hot oil. Sugar and confectionary manufacturers have an enormous assortment of equipment that stretches, blends, heats, coats, decorates, and cools candies, chocolates, doughnuts, or other sweets.

Other workers may operate equipment that mixes spices for meat products, mills grains, or extracts oil from seeds. Almost all of these machines require skilled operators to report malfunctions or make adjustments.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition