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What They Do

Food Scientists and Technologists Career Video

Insider Info

Cereal chemists study the properties of cereal grains and the reactions they undergo. Cereal grains include wheat, millet, barley, oats, rye, rice and corn. These grains are a major source of food for humans and animals.

According to information posted on the American Association for Cereal Chemists' (AACC) website, cereal chemists work in a variety of areas. Some are researchers. Some teach at colleges and universities. Some work for government.

Some work for food companies and are involved with food preparation. Those working for food companies (pasta, bread, flour milling, baking, malting) could be involved in product development. Or they might ensure that the quality is good.

Universities, governmental agencies, private research institutions, cereal processing industries and suppliers to the cereal-processing industry employ cereal chemists.

Finlay MacRitchie serves on a number of AACC committees. He says that there are approximately 4,000 members worldwide. "The majority are from North America."

"It would be a challenge for a person with a physical disability to do this work," says Kevin Swallow. He is a cereal chemist. "But it would not be an insurmountable obstacle."

From time to time, Swallow works with equipment. He sometimes climbs on top of equipment to make adjustments. This could be a limiting factor, but he believes that a person with a disability could work on the scientific level.

Swallow doesn't know for sure whether people with a visual impairment could do this work. "If you can do computer work and are reasonably intelligent, you could probably teach or do some work on the scientific level." Work involving the technical aspects could be more difficult.

At a Glance

Study grains like wheat, barley, oats and rice

  • You could work for universities, governmental agencies or private research institutions
  • The American Association of Cereal Chemists has more than 2,000 members worldwide
  • You can get specific training in cereal chemistry -- some schools offer it as part of a food science program


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