The University of Agriculture, Faisalabad is the pioneer in launching the Food Engineering Program in Pakistan. The Department admitted the first students in 2011-12 academic years. The degree program in Food Engineering was launched in accordance with the fundamental guiding principles of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and technology (ABET) in the USA to meet the current needs of value-added agricultural products and prospects for self-employment. The mission of Food Engineering Department is to educate Food Engineers with required knowledge and skills to design and to produce safe, high quality, and economical food products and processes; to conduct research and development for the benefits of growing food industry and society. Food engineers design and develop processes and products to address the Pakistan's growing demand for safe and healthy foods and healthy living. The development of new and innovative biological treatment solutions for the food industry, machinery, packaging, ingredients, instrumentation and control, food engineers create important systems and cost effective solutions. Food engineering students can customize their education to their personal interests and career goals. Graduates are prepared for careers in the food processing and related agricultural / food products industry. Graduates are also prepared to continue their education at the graduate level in engineering, science, medicine, law and business. Since this discipline was no-existent in Pakistan, therefore, the UAF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) to teach specialized courses of 5th to 8th semesters of food engineering through video-conferencing from UPM. The team of professors from the Department of Process & Food Engineering, UPM, comprised of Associate Prof. Dr. Yus Aniza Yusof, HoD, Dr. Farah Saleena Taip, Dr. Chin Nyuk Ling, Dr. Siti Mazlina Mustapa Kamal, Dr. Khairul Faezah Mohd. Yunus, Dr. Norashikin Ab. Aziz, and Dr. Rosnita A. Talib. Presently, the department has 2 professors, 1 associate professor, 5 assistant professors, 2 lecturers, and 2 lab engineers to share the academic and educational workload of specialized food engineering courses. The fundamental courses of first four semesters are being taught by shared professors from the other engineering departments of the faculty viz; Farm Machinery & Power, Structures & Environmental Engineering, Irrigation & Drainage and Energy Systems Engineering. Most of the members of faculty have Ph.D. degrees from USA, Netherland, France, UK, Italy, Germany, Canada and / or UAF. The full-time faculty of Food Engineering Department has a broad range of technical interest and expertise, and their diverse backgrounds are quite consistent with the multi-disciplinary nature of the food engineering discipline. The backgrounds of the faculty members include chemical engineering, agricultural engineering, food engineering and mechanical engineering. The faculty members who have obtained their degrees from a discipline other than food engineering have M.Sc. or Ph.D. degrees in areas of food science, food technology, food microbiology, and food engineering. The full-time faculty of Food Engineering Department has a wide range of technical interest and experience, and their diverse backgrounds are quite consistent with the multidisciplinary nature of the discipline of food engineering. The teachers' backgrounds include, agricultural engineering, food engineering, and environmental engineering. Teachers who have non- engineering discipline have M.Sc. or PhD degrees in the areas of, food technology, food microbiology, or food chemistry.
In order to accomplish this mission the department has identified four educational goals for the Degree: 1) To educate the students to practice their profession in an effective way by providing extensive training in applications and food engineering fundamentals, 2) Prepare them to compete in the 21st century technological developments , providing them with the appropriate skills and capacity for food engineering profession professional and personal, 3) educate and train them to gain the knowledge and skills to analyze and design considering the effects of food engineering practices for health, the environment , and social aspects, and 4 ) to encourage students to be aware of continuous professional improvement and lifelong learning. Currently, the Department offers B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree programs in Food Engineering and is planning to offer PhD Program in near future.
Food is the mainstay of all the developed and developing countries. Food handling is a significant feature in agriculture sector and skill in dealing with agricultural produces at and off-farm gate is an uphill task. The sensitivity of food requires engineering knowledge to carefully deal with such products. In Pakistan, all types of seasons exist in various regions. The land potential to produce is very high and only thing lagging behind is the proper handling of harvested farm products. Various studies in Pakistan reveal that 30-50% losses occur during and after harvesting and handling of different agricultural products, particularly perishables leads towards higher side of losses. Therefore, scope of skilled professional in food engineering cannot be denied. The surplus fruits, vegetables, cereal crops, dairy/poultry/aquatic products need specific hygienic handling/processing when mechanically produced and reduction in losses are the sole object of engaging properly designed food machines in food products. The production potential of our farming system needs engineering approach to overcome prevailing vicious circle of poor food handling. Food engineering is the answer to alter the existing circumstance in the agriculture sector. Marketable surplus can only be taken care of by mechanized processes and a multiplier for a growing economy in mechanized agriculture is food engineering. The University of Agriculture has taken a dynamic step to initiate the new degree program to meet the WTO standards in food products to compete the world market. There is a strong demand for food engineering graduates in the food industry, which is the second largest industrial sector of Pakistan's economy. Food engineers help in developing new food products and conceive, design and operate food processes, equipments and plants for effective production of foods with minimal impact on the environment. Food engineering involves the application of engineering principles and concepts to the handling, storage, processing, packaging, and distribution of food and related products. In addition to engineering principles, the food engineering degree provides an understanding of the chemical, biochemical, microbiological, and physical characteristics of foods. Concepts of food refrigeration, freezing, extrusion, drying, packaging, handling, and other food operations are studied. The food engineering curriculum provides a strong foundation in mathematical and physical, biological and food sciences, chemical and mechanical engineering. These courses will enable the students to familiarize with material and energy uses, methods for analyzing and designing processes, equipment and operations, methods for optimizing performance of operations in relevance to food and food systems. Food engineers are key contributors in optimizing food quality and safety, and in maintaining high nutritional standards. In the development of food products like low-fat foods, food engineers design the conversion processes to assist in required quality food formulation. Food Engineers would help in fulfilling the necessity of value addition of agricultural products to compete the world market and provide technical skill to food industry. Additionally, food security and safety issues are also the concern which are addressed through this undergraduate degree program.