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Food Plant Operation and Management (FPOM): A Proposed New Program Option

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Food Processing Automation Conference Proceedings, 28-29 June 2008, Providence, Rhode Island  701P0508cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.24561)
Authors:   Nitaigour P Mahalik, Gour Choudhury, Matthew Yen
Keywords:   syllabus, program option, operation, management, control systems

The objective of this paper is to propose a program option in terms of “Food Plant Operation and Management”. The option can effectively produce professionals loaded with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills that includes food science, automation and control, quality and environment, and plant management. This paper comprehensively presents the course structure while looking at the modern global food industry needs. California is one of the most productive agricultural areas. Its economy significantly depends on the agriculture and hence the food industries. Since, about 25% of the US agricultural production comes from this state food processing industry is considered as important dynamic sector. The central San Joaquin valley is heading to accommodate more than 3,000 industries thereby claiming to be the world’s largest single factory site. This is the reason why we have taken steps to propose this program option at CSU, Fresno. In recent years, such pressures as operational flexibility, advanced automation, modernization, regulations, quality control and management, and the environmental issues have motivated the food processing industry to search for interdisciplinary technical manpower. Moreover, as new and more complex technologies are created, the role of the technical professionals along with management skills has become important. However, the traditional form of education intended to provide manpower to such industries seems to be stand-alone in nature in the sense that a student usually chooses an option either in food science, plant automation and control, or food business management. What is necessary for them (food industries) is that the availability of well-educated, well-trained, and ready-to-work manpower so that additional in-house, on-the-job training after the hiring would not be required. In order to accommodate the needed attributes there is a pressing need to address a new curriculum structure for the University level undergraduate program.

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