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New food science major brings the heat

Americans spend an average of 30 minutes per day cooking food, according to the Live Science Web page.

Neal Ricks, an instructor in the agriculture and food science department at BYU-Idaho, has taught for six      years.

Before teaching, he worked as a food developer for General Mills and other companies. People are cooking less and less, Ricks said.

“[Consumers] are turning to companies to do some of the work for them, and food scientists develop food products that help people have quicker, easier meal solutions,” Ricks                said.

The food science major at BYU-I, became available to declare in fall 2013.

Ricks said 16 students have declared their majors as food science at BYU-I, and it will definitely be a growing major in the coming years.

“Those who are interested in both food and science will really be interested in this major,”               Ricks said.

Some students, like Andrew Hubbard, a sophomore studying business management, don’t know what food science is, although Hubbard said he associates it with classes like nutrition and         exercise.

“The Food Science degree prepares students to work in food product development, food processing, quality assurance and regulatory agencies in food safety,” according to the BYU-I 2013-2014 Academic                     Catalog.

Food science majors take classes such as chemistry, math, physics, biology, nutrition, food development and processing.

One of the first classes that food science majors can take is                  FS 120, Introduction to Food and Food      Safety.

The class will focus on cooking skills and techniques and will introduce the science principles behind the principles of good cooking, Ricks said.

However, the class is not just for food science majors.

Abraham De La Cruz Hernandez, a junior studying chemistry, studied food science in high school while living in Mexico.

Students such as Hernandez who are interested in food science but who have different majors are free to take the course.

“I think everyone will really enjoy and benefit from that class,” Ricks said.

Hernandez said he expressed interest in the food major, but thought it would be more restricting and opted for chemistry instead.

Ricks said an increase in demand for food that is easy and quick to prepare will add many jobs to the already large market of jobs for food scientists.

People who major in food science have a very big probability of getting a job directly after they graduate, Ricks said.

The three main areas in food science are quality assurance, production or managing factories, and product development; product developers are the people that create products that factories make,         Ricks said.

“Even in the down economy, food science majors still found jobs out of college because there are more jobs than food scientists,” Ricks said.

“When we start teaching classes like product development, food processing and dairy processing, I think the number of students enrolled in this major will increase,” Ricks said.

The dairy processing class will make food such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

“Who doesn’t want to learn how to make good ice cream?” Ricks said.



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