Ultimate Guide to farm, dairy, and food machinery--Article Index

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About this Guide:

The food industry, which includes farming and food production, packaging and distribution, and retail and catering, is enormous. The Wikipedia states that in the United States, consumers spend approximately US$1 trillion annually for food, or nearly 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Over 16.5 million people are employed in the food industry. In 2005, processed food sales worldwide were approximately US$3.2 trillion. According to Reuters, "food processing is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the United States, accounting for approximately 10% of all manufacturing shipments (by value). The processed food industry has grown by over 10% between 1998 and 2005, and in 2005, the value of processed food shipments was approximately $470 billion. The largest sectors of the industry, in terms of value, are meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable preservation, and specialty foods. Other niche sectors include bakeries and tortilla manufacturing, grain and oilseed milling, sugar and confectionery, animal food manufacturing, and seafood products." The size of the machinery component of the food processing industry is hardly static, and it’s an area where engineers can have a major effect. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, states: "Fierce competition has led food manufacturing plants to invest in technologically advanced machinery to be more productive. The new machines have been applied to tasks as varied as packaging, inspection, and inventory control...

Computers also are being widely implemented throughout the industry.... Food manufacturing firms will be able to use this new automation to better meet the changing demands of a growing and increasingly diverse population. As convenience becomes more important, consumers increasingly demand highly-processed foods such as pre-marinated pork loins, peeled and cut carrots, microwaveable soups, or "ready-to-heat" dinners. Such a shift in consumption...will lead to the development of thousands of new processed foods. Domestic producers also will attempt to market these goods abroad as the volume of international trade continues to grow. The increasing size and diversity of the American population has driven demand for a greater variety of foods, including more ethnic foods. The combination of expanding export markets and shifting and increasing domestic consumption...will lead to significant changes throughout the food manufacturing industry." During 2005, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, factory shipments of farm equipment and machinery, including parts and attachments, produced by original equipment manufacturers (OEM) totaled US$6.9 billion. The total includes dairy, planting, seeding, fertilizing, harvesting, and haying machinery, among other products. It seems safe to say that the farm machinery component of the food industry is in the same growth and development mode as the food processing component.

Clearly, these two components of the food industry-farm machinery and food processing machinery-are of great interest to engineers in a variety of disciplines, including food and agricultural, mechanical, chemical, materials, and computer engineering. At least four major technical publishers address food engineering, with as many as several dozen titles in their lists. But when my editor, and I reviewed these lists, none of the titles appeared to us to take the broad approach that we were interested in-an approach that her informal market research at industry meetings seemed to justify. So one of the main ideas that drove development of the Guide to Farm, Dairy, and Food Machinery to conform to the needs of engineers, was to provide coverage from farm to market. Our intent from the outset was to cover, in a single comprehensive volume, those aspects of the food industry of interest to engineers who design and build farm machinery, food storage facilities, food processing machinery, and food packaging machinery.

This is a guide written for engineers by engineers. Most of the contributors are based in the United States. Of the guide's 22 sections, 16 are from U.S. Contributors.

But over a quarter of the sections are from contributors based elsewhere--three in Canada, two in UK, two in Thailand, and three in Germany. The targeted audience for the guide is practicing engineers. Because the guide is not only practical, but is also instructive, students in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses will also benefit.

While some sections deal with the design of farm and food processing machinery and facilities, other sections provide the theoretical basis for determining and predicting the behavior of foods as they are handled and processed. In order for the guide to be useful to engineers, coverage of each topic is comprehensive enough to serve as an overview of the most recent and relevant research and technology. Numerous references are included at the ends of most sections.

Like any of my guides (I am also the editor of the Mechanical Engineers' Handbook, the Guide of Materials Selection, the Standard Guide of Biomedical Engineering and Design, the Transportation Engineers' Handbook, and the Guide of Environmental Degradation of Materials), the Guide to Farm, Dairy, and Food Machinery is meant not only to be used as a reference, but also to serve as the core of a knowledge spectrum. In this Internet age, a broad-based publication, such as this guide, does not exist in isolation. Instead, each part of it-each sentence, paragraph, item of data, reference, etc.-may be linked to information on a multiplicity of web sites. So this guide, with its own store of knowledge, is also a gateway to a wider world of knowledge about farm and food processing machinery and facilities.

The final section of the guide contains two sections on packaging, the first on packaging materials and processing , and the second on packaging machinery.

While my own training as a mechanical engineer was crucial in conceiving the Guide of Farm, Dairy, and Food Machinery, and while my publishing history with engineering guides in a wide variety of disciplines was certainly useful in bringing the guide to fruition, it was the contributors who did the real heavy lifting. It’s a miracle, as it’s for any guide with many contributors, that so many found the time and energy to create their scholarly and practical sections. Their professionalism is remarkable, and they have my utmost appreciation and admiration.


Index and intro (this page)


  1. The Food Engineer
    1. 1 Nature of Work and Necessary Skills
    2. 2 Academic and Industry Preparation
    3. 3 Work Opportunities for a Food Engineer
    4. 3.1 Job description sample 1
    5. 3.2 Job description sample 2
    6. 3.3 Job description sample 3
    7. 3.4 Job description sample 4
    8. 3.5 Job description sample 5
    9. 4 Engineering Jobs
    10. 5 Future Opportunities
    11. 6 Conclusions
  2. Food Regulations
    1. 1 Background
    2. 1.1 Federal Register
    3. 1.2 United States Code
    4. 2 Sanitation Programs
    5. 2.1 Sanitation
    6. 3 Hazard Analyses and Critical Control Point Program (HACCP)
    7. 3.1 Prerequisite programs
    8. 4 Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMP)
    9. 5 Meat Processing
    10. 6 Shell Eggs
    11. 6.1 Egg products
    12. 7 Seafood Processing
    13. 8 Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts
    14. 9 Beverages
    15. 9.1 Alcoholic beverages
    16. 9.2 Carbonated beverages
    17. 9.3 Bottled water
    18. 9.4 Fruit and vegetable juices
    19. 9.5 Pasteurization
    20. 9.6 Milk and milk products
    21. 10 Canned Foods
    22. 11 Foodservice/Restaurants
    23. 12 Export Foods
    24. 13 Imported Foods
    25. 14 Organic Food Processing
    26. 15 Conclusions




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