About the Department

The Department of Food Science at Penn State is one of the premier food science departments in the country.

The Department of Food Science is Penn State’s home for the emerging technologies and best practices required for producing, safe, delicious, nutritious food. Our small-school atmosphere facilitates a warm, welcoming, intellectually stimulating, and professional environment.

Our work is closely aligned with the demands of industry and the needs of the community. We boast state-of-the-art facilities and world-class faculty with years of working experience in their fields.

Student success drives the department. Our undergraduate Food Science major offers students hands-on science with real-world applications, strong internship experiences, wide-ranging  scholarship opportunities, and excellent job placement.

Our graduate program offers master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees. Graduate students receive in-depth training in the core disciplines of food chemistry, food microbiology, food engineering and processing, and sensory evaluation.

Research is facilitated through core disciplines as well as following collaborative multidisciplinary signature areas: Microbial Food Safety, Food Choice, Food-Based Solutions for Enhanced Health, and the Material Nature of Foods, as well as underlying cross-cutting research themes of Food Quality and Food Fermentation. Students can participate in meaningful research from the first semester of their first year.

Meet our faculty, staff, and students, and see why we are one of the premier food science departments in the country.

Latest News

February 22, 2024

Lecture to discuss behavioral factors that drive what, why and how children eat

Kathleen Keller, professor of nutritional sciences and food science at Penn State, will deliver the 2024 Pattishall Research Lecture on March 20. Her lecture will discuss brain and behavioral factors that drive what, why and how children eat, and how these eating behaviors predict the development of childhood obesity.

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February 12, 2024

Sugar-reduced chocolate with oat flour just as tasty as original, study finds

The secret to making delicious chocolate with less added sugar is oat flour, according to a new study by Penn State researchers. In a blind taste test, recently published in the Journal of Food Science, 25% reduced-sugar chocolates made with oat flour were rated equally, and in some cases preferred, to regular chocolate. The findings provide a new option for decreasing chocolate’s sugar content while maintaining its texture and flavor.

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January 31, 2024

Proteins in milk — not just fat — may help reduce oral burn from spicy food

Spicy food lovers know that milk can ease the oral burn, but why? Some believe that fat is the soother, with whole cow’s milk reducing the bite more than low-fat cow’s milk or plant milks. A new study conducted by Penn State food scientists, however, suggests that protein plays a role in cooling the heat sensation, too.

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January 24, 2024

Foodborne-pathogen Listeria may hide from sanitizers in biofilms

An estimated 1,600 people in the U.S. contract a serious infection from Listeria bacteria in food each year and, of those individuals, about 260 people die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Penn State researchers may now better understand how the bacteria, called Listeria monocytogenes, survive and persist in fruit-packing plants by evading and surviving sanitizers.  

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