What do Food Processing Workers, All Other Do?
Food processing workers operate the equipment that mixes, cooks, or processes food items. These items are packaged later on, and distributed to grocery stores and restaurants. Workers may also perform maintenance activities such as inspecting, cleaning, and removing malfunctioning parts from processing equipment. Most food processing workers perform their jobs in plants with large open floor areas. Depending on what type of food or beverage is processed, each worker may have different responsibilities.
Food Processing Workers, All Other Skills and Abilities
Since the majority of food processing workers will be operating heavy equipment, close attention-to-detail is required, and workers should always follow proper procedures. Understanding how to safely handle and store food is a requirement, and many facilities will require workers to review safety videos and literature. The willingness to follow directions is imperative for the safety of workers in this particular industry. Workers should also be comfortable working in environments with extreme temperatures and loud noises. This job requires an extensive amount of physical activity, so workers should be comfortable with heavy lifting, bending, stooping, and standing for long periods of time.
Food Processing Workers, All Other Duties
The primary function of a food processing worker is to safely and effectively operate the equipment used to process or prepare food. Processors are usually charged with setting up the equipment and ensuring that it functions properly prior to its use. When it comes to ingredients, processors examine, weigh, and mix them according to the provided recipe. Workers should also remember to properly monitor food temperature throughout the entire process. Food processing workers may also:
- Adjust and monitor ingredients throughout the processing phase
- Regulate gauges and sensors
- Report equipment malfunctions to managers or supervisors
- Clean work areas and ensure that the environment is sanitary and healthy
- Check the final product for quality
Food Processing Workers, All Other Tools and Technology
The career of food processing worker is greatly influenced by various machines and technologies. Assembly lines, mixers, grinders, and other large mechanical devices are employed in the food processing industry. Thermometers and other inspection devices are used to ensure that the food product is suitable for consumption. The work environment for food processing workers can be dangerous if safety gear is not worn. Goggles, slip-resistant shoes, gloves, and other attire are used to protect workers from slips, cuts, and burns.
Education and Training for Food Processing Workers, All Other
This career does not require high levels of education or a college degree, so it is fairly accessible to most job seekers. Approximately 41% of food processing workers held a high-school diploma, while roughly 31% did not complete high-school. Since workers will be expected to operate heavy machinery, there is usually a period of training before workers are allowed to work independently. If you don’t mind physical labor, this career may be an option for you.
Food Processing Workers, All Other Salary
The median annual salary for a food processing worker is $23,800, with the top 10% earning $35,600, and the lowest 10% earning $17,900 annually. Nationally, there was a 0.5% pay increase for food processing workers over the last year. Workers employed by the dairy manufacturing industry earned the highest wages. Food processing workers employed by the employment services industry earned the lowest. As with any profession, experience and location have a major impact on the salary of a worker.
Food Processing Workers, All Other Jobs by Geography
The states of Iowa, Minnesota, and Texas employed the largest percentage of food processing workers in the country. The top paying states for this profession are Idaho, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Over the last year, there was a 3.8% increase in employment in this industry, so job seekers in this field may find more employment opportunities than in previous years. There are currently 43,690 Americans working in the food processing industry, with roughly 1,360 new jobs expected to be created over the next year.