Food Process Worker

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Food Processing Technician
Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Worker

 

Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs

Practical or MechanicalSkill Level 1Skill Level 2

Food processing workers operate machinery and perform other routine tasks involved in manufacturing and/or processing a range of food and drink products.  

The specific activities involved in food processing will vary depending on the product. Food may be sliced, ground, mixed, dried, cooked, baked, frozen, chilled, packaged or passed through a Future Growth Strong combination of these processes before it is ready for distribution.

Food processing workers are responsible for operating the machines that carry out these processes, and monitoring the progress and quality of food products. They may also check and weigh raw materials, before adding them to the process. These workers must also ensure that a work environment is kept clean and hygienic.

ANZSCO ID: 8313

Alternative names: Food and Drink Factory Worker, Food Batchmaker, Food Machine Operator, Food Technician,

Knowledge, skills and attributes Food assembly line

A food processing worker needs:

  • a high standard of personal cleanliness and hygiene

  • good hand-eye coordination

  • a reasonable level of fitness

  • the ability to work as part of a team

  • the ability to maintain focus while carrying out repetitive tasks.

 

Duties and Tasks

  • weighing, measuring, mixing, dissolving and boiling ingredients
  • adding materials, such as spices and preservatives, to food and beverages
  • operating heating, chilling, freezing, pasteurising, carbonating, sulphuring and desulphuring plant
  • monitoring product quality before packaging by inspecting, taking samples and adjusting treatment conditions when necessary
  • operating machines to peel, core, slice, dice, pit and juice fruit and vegetables
  • cleaning equipment, pumps, hoses, storage tanks, vessels and floors, and maintaining infestation control programs
  • regulating speed of conveyors and crusher rollers, and adjusting tension of rollers to ensure total extraction of juice from sugar cane
  • moving products from production lines into storage and shipping areas
  • packaging and bottling products

Working conditions

Most food processing workers are employed in the metropolitan region. However, there are significant employment opportunities in various regions; eg.  for grain mill workers in the Wheatbelt, and for dairy processing workers in the South West region.

The work environment may be noisy, dusty, wet, slippery, hot or cold, depending on the particular product and manufacturing processes being carried out.

A high level of hygiene and cleanliness is always required when working with any food product. These workers are required to regularly wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap and wear protective clothing including hair nets, gloves, masks and overalls, which will help avoid contaminating products.

Tools and technologies

SortingFood processing workers use a variety of machinery for most processing and packaging tasks. Most factories have conveyor belts, labellers and packaging equipment, as well as more specialised machinery for particular products.

Food processing workers will also use cleaning equipment, such as high pressure hoses and chemicals to ensure that machinery is kept clean and hygienic. In some cases, they may also use forklifts and trolleys to move raw materials and finished products around a factory.


Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a food processing worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

​You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a traineeship.The food processing traineeship takes 12 to 24 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

 

Did You Know?

The overall food manufacturing industry is an important part of the Australian economy. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2013-14, employment in food and beverage manufacturing in Australia was approximately 222,900 people, representing around 23.9 per cent of total manufacturing employment!
(Source: Formation Training)

Food Processing Technician
   Manufacturing & Production

Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

Food processing technicians assist food technologists in the development, processing and packaging of food products. They also establish and maintain food quality control standards for food manufacturers such and for the agricultural, food retail and food service catering industries.Future Growth Strong

Food processing technicians can choose to work in one of several areas. They may work with specific foods such as dairy or meat products, undertaking routine analytical testing of raw materials and finished products under controlled conditions. Routine testing includes microbiological tests (used to ensure food is safe to consume) and chemical testing (used to gauge the chemical composition, or additives in food).

Other food processing technicians may choose to work in a particular area of food production such as research and development, quality control, food laboratory analysis or production supervision.

Food technicians check production processes and product quality, and undertake maintenance and basic repair of equipment. They also assist food technologists with developing food products and establishing standards for production and packaging.

ANZSCO ID: 234212
   

Alternative names: Food Technologist, Food Technician,
  

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • aptitude for mathematics and science
  • problem-solving skills
  • enjoy scientific activities
  • good observation skills
  • show initiative
  • able to work as part of a team
  • good organisation skills
  • strong attention to detail


What's New!

In research and development, food processing technicians help to develop new processing methods and improve current products or create new ones. They repeatedly test and monitor new foods for their microbial content, nutritional value and flavour and appearance before arriving at the final product. Before testing commences, technicians set up a testing station and decide on the most effective testing methods. A wet, analytical testing method installed with an infra-red detector is commonly used to test new ice-cream products for instance. The introduction of automated testing equipment continues to enhance the types of tests carried out in food processing. According to one particular Technical Services Manager, this will continue to lead to shorter turnaround times when producing test results and greater control and efficiency by technicians.

microbial


If you have a healthy interest in science, particularly in regard to the chemical and microbiological composition of food and can see yourself working in a food lab-based environment, then you're heading in the right direction by considering this occupation. On a technical level, you will need sharp observational skills, have the ability to interpret and analyse test results and be able to offer suggestions about how processes could be improved. Food processing technicians need to pay attention to detail and adopt a systematic approach to their work tasks as testing relies on following a step-by-step process.


Technicians working in production supervision and quality control must ensure that hygienic conditions and procedures are followed during food processing and packaging. The procedures include storing raw ingredients under correct conditions and making sure that the raw ingredients and the processed food products meet government and company quality standards. Food processing technicians forward their findings to relevant departments and companies to help ensure their compliance with food, health and safety standards. They also carry out commercial testing for external clients. It is also part of a technician's role to provide technical advice and assistance to other food technicians and operational units within the organisation where they work.

Food processing technicians are laboratory based and work as part of a team. The type of equipment they use includes your everyday microwave, moisture ovens and hygiene monitoring equipment. Its up to these technicians to maintain the laboratory and the testing equipment used by them.
(Source: TAFE SA)

Duties and Tasks

Food technicians may perform the following tasks:

  • monitor food production processes
  • carry out routine testing of food ingredients, packaging and food products to ensure that safety, quality, health and legal standards are met
  • perform physical, chemical and microbiological tests, and report on content, nutritional value, flavour, aroma and appearance
  • collect information from surveys and observations
  • record test results and prepare graphs and reports
  • assist food technologists with research and development, production technology and quality control
  • check and maintain cleanliness and sanitation of laboratory equipment
  • measure, test or weigh bottles, cans or other containers to ensure they meet specifications
  • mix, blend or cultivate ingredients to make reagents (agents to be used in chemical testing) or to manufacture food or beverage products
  • develop, operate, maintain and repair equipment for use in food production, research and testing
  • inspect, analyse and recommend ways of improving quality and efficiency of production
  • check handling, processing and storage of raw materials


Working conditions

Food technicians usually work standard hours, but in some jobs, shift work is common to cover production runs. As a food technician you could work in laboratories, research departments, or in quality inspection and control on food processing / production lines.

This could include travelling to warehouses, distribution centres and suppliers’ factories.


Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a food technician you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in laboratory technology, laboratory skills, laboratory techniques, food processing or food science and technology. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in food technology or food science and nutrition. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, biology, chemistry and mathematics are normally required.

A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study.


Employment Opportunities

Initially, food technicians may perform routine quality assurance tasks such as laboratory testing. With experience, and sometimes further training, it is possible to advance to supervisory or senior technical positions such as quality control leader, quality compliance coordinator, quality assurance inspector, laboratory technician or quality improvement leader.

Job prospects are dependent on food production and access to export markets.

Job growth for food technicians is expected to be about average. Growth will be driven by the demand for new food products and food safety measures. Food research is expected to increase because the public is more aware of nutrition, health, and food safety.

Most growth for food technicians will be in private industry, and will grow alongside the demand for food scientists, with whom they work closely.

 

Did You Know?

Food and beverage is a major industry sector for the Australian economy, in terms of both its financial contribution and employment. Food and beverage processing is Australia's largest manufacturing industry. Industry players are diverse in size - from multinationals producing large volume fast-moving consumer goods through to smaller players with flexibility to meet demand for niche gourmet items.


Australia’s food processing sector is a particularly important part of Australia’s overall food production. It has been growing at a very healthy rate over the last decade.

The industry has been extremely quick to respond to consumer demands and trends, which of late has been for more convenient, healthier, fresher, less processed foods, with minimal storage time. By developing new food processing, separation and packaging technologies and innovations, Australia is staying at the forefront of the food industry worldwide. Combine these strengths with a reliable supply of high quality raw materials, a strong food safety regime through Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), an environment that encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration, and Australia is an ideal location for investment all along the chain.

International companies recognise this, which is why most of the world's leading food companies, including Nestle, Unilever, Associated British Foods, DSM, Danisco, Parmalat, Mars, McCains, Simplot, and Hakubaku have a presence in Australia, many of them for decades.


Australia has significant R&D capabilities in food processing including at Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology (AIFST); the dairy industry through the Dairy Bio and the wine industry through the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). These capabilities are reinforced by successful spin-offs from universities. R&D in food processing is also being conducted by companies and through private research organisations.

AIFST


Companies providing value-added products in food processing are supported by Australia’s strong, export focused, agricultural industry, particularly in areas such as:

•The dairy industry (eg. innovative companies focusing on extraction and purification of proteins, peptides and colostrum from milk).

•Wine (a sector that has demonstrated both strong leadership with its 2020 Strategy and an ability to take up innovative technology).

•The brewing industry (which also has a strong focus on innovation).

•The sugar industry, from 2003 to 2010, through the Cooperative Research Centre for Sugar Innovation through biotechnology (developing new wellness foods products including healthy fibres from bagasse).

•The meat industry through work supported by Meat and Livestock Australia.

Food packaging

In its simplest form, packaging plays an important role in keeping the food supply safe. Packaging maintains the quality of food after processing is completed, enabling it to be sent long distances from its point of origin. The design and construction of packaging also plays an important role influencing shelf life as well as aesthetic appeal.

Traditional materials used in packaging include glass, metals, paper and paperboards, plastics. A wider variety of plastics are now available both in rigid and flexible forms and today's food packaging often combine several materials.

In balancing today's heightened social and environmental consciousness and stricter regulations on pollutants and disposal of solid waste, many companies are turning towards more biodegradable options that have less impact on the environment.
(Source: Austrade)

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Arts & Crafts Professional

Spraypainter

Jeweller

Milliner

Dressmaker

Ergonomist

Naval Marine Architect

Prosthetist Orthotist

Leather Goods Maker

Packer

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Abattoir Worker

Clothing Patternmaker

Sailmaker

Textile Designer

Shipwright

Brewer

Cheesemaker

Fashion Designer

Confectioner

Winemaker

Fabrication Engineering Tradesperson

Tree Faller