Still, companies involved in food safety say that they also hire analytical chemists who have gained related experience outside of the food industry. BASF, for example, favors candidates who have previous experience in a current Good Manufacturing Practices-regulated environment, such as the pharmaceutical industry, Webber says. To fill food-safety positions, BASF generally hires B.S.-level chemists, or those with undergraduate degrees in food science or a related field, who are adept in good documentation practices and who can demonstrate great laboratory and problem-solving skills, she adds.
Making the effort to develop the skills and expertise needed to work in the food-safety arena may be a smart career move for chemists, who have faced a dearth of job prospects in recent years. “As the food industry becomes more global and as customer, consumer, and regulatory requirements continue to increase, there will be increasing focus on food safety in the future,” BASF’s Webber says. “In order for manufacturers to meet all these needs, they most likely will require additional employees including analytical chemists.”
Waters’ Willis concurs. “This isn’t a market that is going to decrease in importance,” he says. “Every time you have a food-safety scare, consumer demand for improved testing and improved product quality goes up. Testing is only going to increase as the population demands cleaner and less hazardous food.”Sounds interesting. I note that I would not like to mention that I'm a food safety chemist at a cocktail party -- listening to other people's theories about food safety does not sound like fun.