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European Food Science and Technology Education

By Geoffrey Campbell-Platt


Food Science and Technology Development in Europe:

Food Science and Technology, the understanding and application of science to satisfy the needs of society for sustainable food quality, safety and security, has been taught as a University academic discipline for the past 60 years.


Europe has been a major centre for food science and technology, with one of the earliest food science degrees offered by the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, Scotland, led by the late Professor John Hawthorn, who was an early President of IUFoST. The discipline of Food Technology was developed in response to wartime food shortages in Britain, with the National College of Food Technology set up as a joint venture between academia, government and the food industry, initially in London, then it moved to a new site in Weybridge, Surrey, before moving to the University of Reading.  The longer  program in Food Technology provided the opportunity for students to include periods of time working in the food industry, to gain experience, which would  also allow them to be highly ‘sought after’ as graduates, because of their knowledge of the kind of role they would be best able to fulfil in industry, retail, laboratory or control agency. There were industrial Advisory Boards, who could not only help guide and support the University teaching and research programs, but also help arrange the industrial placements. These Advisory Boards have become widely used in many countries with positive effect.


Collaboration and Focus in Higher Education:

Throughout Europe, as elsewhere, Food Science and Technology courses are taught at relatively few Universities, which have usually recognised other centres of expertise, and sought co-operation and collaboration. In the UK, the Committee of University Professors of Food Science and Technology (CUPFST) came together to produce a ‘Course Content for University Food Science and Technology Programs’. This recommended core subjects, such as Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Analysis, Nutrition, and Processing, as well as other subject components, all based on learning outcomes, and which would support  diversity and different research strengths.


This was paralleled in the USA, with courses which sought eligibility for scholarship funding for their students from the [US] Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), following the IFT Recommended Education Standards for Food Science. IUFoST brought together CUPFST, IFT and other educational expertise to provide the IUFoST Recommended International Guidelines for Core Curricula in Food Science and Technology. This collaboration has been further strengthened by the publication of the IUFoST/ Wiley-Blackwell textbook Food Science and Technology, covering the key content of food science and technology degree programs. Book chapters have been contributed by 30 eminent authors, from 10 countries, in Europe and worldwide, with several authors being distinguished Fellows of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST).


European Initiatives and Programs:

European food science and technology has been in the forefront of European and international collaboration, through organising a European MSc course in Food Science and Technology. This initiative, which has since been used as a model by some other disciplines, involves a cohort of graduate students from several countries studying modules in some five different European countries, and then doing a research project in a further country, while also developing different language skills. This provides great international networking opportunities, and has proved popular with the students, the food industry, and European Commission. The early days of the European Lifelong Learning Programme, which now comprises 6 sub-programs, involved the establishment , in 1987, of the ERASMUS program ( European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students ). In this, students spend 3 – 12 months in a different University in another European country, which is recognised as part of coursework in their own University degree program.


The ‘Bologna Process’ across Further and Higher Education aims to bring together more closely, different European degree programs. In food science and technology, the ISEKI_Food 4 project is supported by the European Commission, and brings together some 86 participants, from all the European Union member states, plus Brazil, USA and Israel to help address educational and industrial needs for the European future.


These important activities provide a good basis for course content, reference and inspiration for younger food scientists and technologists, providing strong networking opportunities and support for European food safety and food control, from which we should all benefit, now and in the future.           


Dr Geoffrey Campbell-Platt is an Emeritus Professor, University of Reading, Reading, UK, a Fellow of IAFoST, and was President (2008-12) of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST), e-mail:

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IUFoST Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB)



John Spink, PhD
Food Fraud – and the focus on prevention – is an important and evolving food industry focus. Even though the vast majority of these incidents do not have a health hazard in some ways they are more dangerous because the substances and actions are unknown and untraceable.  The types of food fraud stretch the traditional role of food science and technology to include criminology, supply chain traceability and other control systems. The food authenticity and integrity testing will be the most complex actions and their value should be assessed in terms of the contribution to prevention. This Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB) presents an introduction, review of incidents, the fundamentals of prevention which then provide insight on the optimal role of Food Science and Technology.
See IUFoST SIBS below for the complete Food Fraud Prevention Scientific Information Bulletin.






Congratulations Prof. Dr. Purwiyatno Hariyadi

Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Puwiyatno Hariyadi who has been elected to the position of Vice-Chair of the  CODEX Alimentarius Commission.

Dr. Hariyadi is a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST) and Senior scientist, SEAFAST Center; Professor, Dept. Food Science and Technology, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

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