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The Importance of Food Technology
Making Food safer and better through science!
Why so little?
Entering College was probably the biggest deal in the lives of many people. This includes people like me. After graduating High School, I was left lost on what course to take. I never really knew what I wanted and I spent the entire summer looking up courses with high amounts of student enrolling.
List goes as follows:
Information Technology (In a tech-driven world? No surprise.)
Nursing (Will this ever stop being popular?)
Law (insert "lawyers are liars" joke.)
and Hotel Management
And I was left to choose between these 4 courses because, well, you'd want to enroll in a course of great importance, would you not?
But these courses didn't fit me. I love technology, but hate programming.
Nursing will get you stared at by a classroom full of women.
Law, well, not many people seem to like that.
And Hotel Management? I'd prefer staying in one place, thank you very much!
But I tried to find out what it was I loved.
No surprise, one of them was food. And the other was my highest graded subject. Sciences.
So I went to a nearby university to see if anything fits the bill.
And lo and behold, it was there, hiding beneath lists of hundreds of courses.
I did some research and found out that not many people take up this course, but the demand is high!
As an agriculturally driven country, the Philippines needed Food Technologists (scientists) to ensure the safety and quality of our exported products.
We export nearly 85% of all the sugar, rice, coconut, and even mangoes we produce. And all we do is load them up on crates and ship them to God knows where.
There is no assurance of quality, no assurance of safety, you'd be lucky if 75% of them make it through undamaged.
We need to assure safety and quality to our raw products before we use them, before they even hit our tables.
Sure, cooking food is fast, easy, and pays well, but who will make sure your ingredients make it through without pests and it is used in its highest quality?
Many people often mistake Food Technology to Culinary Arts, and they go- "Oh, so you cook food?"
No, we do not, we enhance food, we process raw materials, we check for safety hazards, we make sure that the cans of tuna you're buying have tuna inside them and not salmon(ella).
There is a disturbing lack of food technologists in this country and, dare I say, all over the world.
When I entered college as a Food Technology student, I was expecting to be in a class full of students eager to learn how to make food, the most basic need of humans, better and safer.
Instead I was greeted with the sight of 10 students sitting together wondering when the others will arrive.
They never did. There were only 10 of us. In a school of 1300 students, only the 10 of us are Food Technology students.
Our teachers were happy of the low number, because it's easier to control. Yet they were also disappointed by the apparent lack of students.
The entire school debated whether to dissolve the course or not. It was in school regulations that a course must have at least 50 students to still be considered a legitimate learning program.
We were way below 50.
But we didn't let that bring us down. The first year of learning was the hardest. Food Technology, apparently, is a branch of engineering. So you can imagine the math we faced was harder than trying to figure out the last digit of pi.
But then we delved into chemistry, industry, biology and statistics.
We learned not only that our course was important, but also, that it was science!
As the chefs cook, we dwell in the labs, experimenting on food, learning how to make poison from potatoes (no, really, we did.) and making products out of what seemed to be wastes (Orange peel tea, anyone?)
We learned how to prepare, preserve, and enhance raw materials like fruits and vegetables, and then we cook it, with the assurance that we were eating food of the highest quality, and lowest risk of health hazard.
And that is what we aim for, all 10 of us, for our country. Highest quality, lowest risk of health hazard. Throw in cheap consumer prices for good measure, we'll work on that too.
So I urge anyone out there, If you love food and science, give Food Technology a try, we are a dying breed the lot of us. And we will welcome those who work hard for the masses, and not for himself.