Manufacturing & Production
Food Processing Worker
Food processing workers operate machinery and produce and pack a wide variety of processed and manufactured food items.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Food Processing Worker do?
Food processing workers operate a range of processing machinery, and produce and pack a wide variety of processed and manufactured food items. These may include including frozen, canned, baked, dried, and pasteurised products.
As a food processing worker, you would:
- work on a production line, with food passing along on conveyor belts
- work with food products in different stages such as mixing, cooking and packing
- check and control the machinery that processes the food
- make sure there is a constant supply of raw materials or ingredients on the conveyor belt
- adjust the speed of the conveyor belt if necessary
- check instruments such as temperature gauges, at regular intervals
- stop the machine if problems occur
- keep machines clean at all times
- process foodstuffs for consumption by humans or pets.
Key skills and interests
To become a food processing worker, you would need:
- the ability to follow instructions and procedures
- good observance of hygiene rules
- an understanding of health and safety regulations
- the ability to spot problems with produce
- the ability to maintain concentration for repetitive tasks
- able to cope with the physical demands of the job
- accuracy and attention to detail
- good teamwork skills and the ability to work alone.
Working hours and conditions
You would usually work a standard number of hours per week. Some factories operate a shift system involving evening, night and weekend work. Overtime may also be available.
Your job would mainly take place on the production line of a factory. The temperature in a factory will vary depending on the type of food being processed.
You would work to high standards of hygiene and wear clean, protective clothing and a hat or hairnet. Some factories may also be noisy depending on the processes being carried out. You may be required to stand for long periods of time.
How to become an Food Processing Worker?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a food processing worker without formal qualifications. You would receive on-the-job training.
For certain food processing work, such as poultry processing, you may need a forklift licence.
Employment of food processing workers is projected to show little or no change.
Food manufacturing companies are increasingly using automation to raise productivity, and many food companies are increasingly doing their processing offshore. As these companies further consolidate their facilities and streamline production processes, fewer workers will be needed to operate machines. However, this will be offset by population growth and greater consumption of freshly processed foods, which will maintain demand for food processing workers.