Fancy a smoked rabbit sandwich?
Smoked rabbit meat is now on the menu for graduate students participating in the new food chemistry program. AUC launched its first-level graduate program this semester to satisfy the need for food chemists in the Egyptian market.
“Food chemistry is like an art. It can convert tasteless raw materials into edible food,” said Necla Demir, assistant professor at the chemistry department.
The food chemistry program focuses on training professional food chemists who are able to analyze food, devise new protocols to guarantee the safety of the food products and develop new foods and beverages.
“The program is a model for co-operation between academics and the food industry,” said Hassan Azzazy, professor and associate dean for graduate studies. Companies like Coca-Cola and Danon have sent some experts to the department to participate in the program.
“We need food chemists willing to serve and save their community, to check on the food imported and to save us from being dependant on foreign imports,” said Azzazy.
In the program’s first success, student abstracts from the program were accepted at the International Food Technology annual conference in Chicago last July. Dina El Nemr, Nouran Badawy and Essam El Sisy worked on developing a new product, smoked rabbit meat.
“It was a great success. Our abstract was accepted in Chicago and we are looking forward to seeing our full study published in scientific journals next January,” said El Nemr.
On the other hand, Amr Zaid , another student in the food chemistry program introduced a food safety plan for salted fish.
To be part of the food chemistry program, a candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or any related science area and to have professional experience within the laboratory environment.
The food chemistry program is open to graduates from other universities as well and does not target AUC graduates exclusively.
“Currently, we are collaborating with medicine, pharmacy and science college graduates from Cairo university, Ain Shams , Helwan university and the German University in Cairo,” explained Azzazy.
Students will examine and analyze food samples using different natural and synthetic methods.
They will apply their knowledge in processing, packaging, storing and preserving food. They may also develop new food products like sugar replacements or generally improve the quality of foods and beverages.
El Nemr, an Ain Shams medical faculty graduate, believes this program is filling the gap in the Egyptian market.
“Two people have already been hired. This field is full of opportunities,” she said.