2017 Food and Tobacco Processing Workers
Median Pay: US$26,350
Entry Level: See How to Become One
Summary
Food and tobacco processing workers operate equipment that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients used in the manufacture of food and tobacco products.
Duties

Food and tobacco processing workers typically do the following:

  • Set up, start, or load food or tobacco processing equipment
  • Check, weigh, and mix ingredients according to recipes
  • Set and control temperatures, flow rates, and pressures of machinery
  • Monitor and adjust ingredient mixes during production processes
  • Observe and regulate equipment gauges and controls
  • Report equipment malfunctions to team leaders or maintenance staff
  • Clean workspaces and equipment in accordance with health and safety standards
  • Check final products to ensure quality

Food and tobacco processing workers often have different duties depending on the type of machinery they use or goods they process.

Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders operate machines that produce roasted, baked, or dried food or tobacco products. For example, dryers of fruits and vegetables operate machines that produce raisins, prunes, or other dehydrated foods. Tobacco roasters tend machines that cure tobacco for wholesale distribution to cigarette manufacturers and other makers of tobacco products. Others, such as coffee roasters, follow recipes and tend machines to produce standard or specialty coffees.

Food batchmakers typically work in facilities that produce baked goods, pasta, and tortillas. Workers mix ingredients to make dough, load and unload ovens, operate pasta extruders, and perform tasks specific to large-scale commercial baking. Some workers are identified by the type of food they produce. For example, those who prepare cheese are known as cheese makers and those who make candy are known as candy makers.

Food cooking machine operators and tenders operate or tend cooking equipment to prepare food products. For example, workers who preserve and can fruits and vegetables usually operate equipment to cook and preserve their products.

Potato and corn chip manufacturing workers operate baking and frying equipment. Sugar and confectionary manufacturers use equipment that blends, heats, coats, and packages candies, chocolates, or other sweets.

Other workers operate machines that mix spices, mill grains, or extract oil from seeds.

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