There’s a wide variety of workers that are classified under the food processing category, work that involves processing raw food products into the finished goods sold by restaurants, grocers, institutional food services, and wholesalers. Processors carry out several tasks and bear the responsibility of producing several of the food products that can be found in the cabinets, pantries, and refrigerators of every household. Some might slaughter or process meat, others are bakers, and others still work with food processing equipment.
Food-Processing Job Responsibilities
Bakers combine and bake ingredients, adhering to recipes to create the requested number and kinds of pastries, breads, and other baked goods. Usually bakers work in commercial bakeries that sell pastries and breads through established retail and wholesale outlets, manufacturers’ outlets, or mail order. In such manufacturing facilities, bakers bake the usual baked goods in substantial amounts, with the utilization of ovens, high-volume mixing machines, and other equipment. Specialty shops and grocers churn out lesser amounts of pastries, breads, and various other baked goods to sell on their premises or as specialty baked goods. Even though the quantities sold in these kinds of stores are small, they come in a variety of sizes and flavors.
Other workers process animal carcasses into cuts of meat fit for consumption, known as either case-ready or boxed meat. The nature of their jobs is dependent on the the level of process in which they are included. In animal slaughtering and processing plants, meat packers and slaughterers slaughter sheep, cows, and hogs before slicing carcasses into wholesale cuts like ribs, tenders, and loins as well as chunks to assist with the marketing, handling, distributing, and sale of meat. A few meat packer and slaughterers in a number of plants further process the larger parts into case-ready cuts that have been made ready for the retail stores. Grocers and retailers have begun to prefer such readily packaged meat products because a butcher is no longer required to further divide the cuts for sale. Meat packers and slaughterers also prepare sausages, luncheon meats, and synthesized meat products, and produce meat trimmings and hamburger meat. Normally they operate on assembly lines with each worker being responsible for just a small number of the several cuts required to process a carcass. Equipment used includes, meat saws, cleavers, knives, and other potentially dangerous equipment.
Food-Processing Training and Education Requirements
Bakers need to be proficient in decorating, icing, and of course baking. Usually they begin their careers as apprentices or trainees. Apprentice bakers normally start out in craft bakeries and trainees will normally start in store bakeries. Several apprentice bakers become active in correspondence study and might work towards a certificate in baking.
The skills required to become a baker are often undervalued. Bakers need to know how to mix ingredients and learn the affects that heat can have on ingredients. They must learn how to work and maintain a variety of equipment used in the production process. Nutrition classes are useful for those selling baked goods or creating new recipes.
On-the-job training is normal in regards to food machine operators and tenders. They learn how to operate different types of equipment by observing and assisting other workers. Training can span a month to an entire year, depending on the difficulty of the jobs and the amount of products involved.
Food-Processing Salary and Wages
Salary and wages are dependent on education, skill, and location. In May 2008 the median annual wages of bakers were $23,290. The middle 50 percent made between $18,760 and $29,720. The lowest ten percent made less than $16,420, and the highest ten percent made more than $37,250. In May 200 the median annual wages of meat cutters and butchers were $28,290. The middle 50 percent made between $21,700 and $36,670. The lowest ten percent made less than $17,600 and the highest ten percent made more than $45,060.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
The Retail Bakers of America offers certification for four levels of comprehension with a concentration on multiple areas, including management, staff training, baking sanitation, and retail sales. Those desiring to be certified have to meet a combination of experience and education requirements before taking an exam. The experience and education requirements are dependent on the level of certification an applicant desires. For instance, a certified journey baker doesn’t need a formal education, but instead needs at least one year of work experience. On the other hand, a certified master baker has to have the certified baker designation, and has to have finished 30 hours of sanitation coursework approved by a culinary school of government agency, 30 hours of advanced development workshops or classes, and at least eight years of retail or commercial baking experience.
Food-Processing Professional Associations
The Midwest Food Processors Association, Inc. is an organization that was created for food processing companies and associated industries in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. The group was founded in 1905 as the Wisconsin Canners Association and now represents a varied society of food processors on a number of food issues. The association’s overall activities can be characterized in four words; educate, advocate communicate, and facilitate.