Degree desired: Doctorate
Proposed field of Study: Food Science & Technology
Microbiological food safety has always been a focus of concern for the food processing industry and the public. Food spoilage microorganisms are responsible for approximately one-fourth of the total amount of food disposed throughout the world (Huss, 1992). Society also pays a huge economic price for the illnesses caused by foodborne pathogens and concomitant decrease of productivity. Thus my major interest is in researching methods for detecting microorganisms in the food system and the means for controlling or eliminating them.
After I received my master's degree and serving two years in the military, I started working as an Associate Food Scientist at the Food Industry Research and Development Institute (FIRDI) in September, 1990. For the first 22 months there I was a lecturer in the Training Unit, where I taught about food processing plants as a part of employee training under the "Food GMP Authorization and Promotion Plan" and the "Promotion of CAS (Chinese Agricultural Standards ) Quality Mark System" .Both are important official systems for ensuring food quality in Taiwan nowadays; nevertheless, they lean toward plant hygienic layout and design, and end-product inspection.
At my request, I transferred to the HACCP Working Group in July, 1992. This one-year on-line microbiological survey and monitor of food processing factories advanced my understanding of environmental stresses on microorganisms and the methods of destroying them. My co-workers and I submitted the proposals "The HACCP System for Production of Frozen Roasted Eel" and "The HACCP System for Production of Ice Bar" in June, 1993. HACCP is a preventive system of food safety. It is more effective and reasonable than conventional quality assurance programs based on end-production testing. This system has been introduced into Taiwan by FIRDI for over four years. However, the concept of HACCP is still frequently misunderstood or little known, partly because plant management often mistakes it for a "trouble-shooting" system, not a "trouble-preventing" one. Another reason is the complexity of decisions about where the "real" CCPs are located and what the applicable criteria are for preventing a false sense of security. Taiwan is demanding of pecialists in this field.
From July, 1993, to the present I have been the Assistant Manager, R&D Division, in Kasei Frozen Foods Works Co., Ltd. Fortunately I could employ my knowledge here in Kasei to achieve an ambitious dream of mine:the "Umbrella of Quality Assurance." This encompassed the hygienic design of the processing equipment and layout of this plant, employee training and hygienic management, cleaning and disinfection procedures, sampling and inspection plans, HACCP system, etc. These broadly describe my research interests.
In order to enhance my research abilities, I have taken courses in SAS (Statistical Analysis System) at Taiwan Institute of Technology. In February, 1995, I will attend 90 hours of classes in "Technology of Food Quality Control Program for High-level Management" at China Productivity Center (CPC). In the subsequent months, I am also planning to study books relevant to food microbiology to make up for my lack of formal training. And then, most importantly, I would like to begin intensive study at your graduate school.
If I am admitted, I will apply my effort into achieving the following goals:
(1) To acquire the knowledge of microbiological phenomena in foods. I plan to take some advanced courses related to food microbiology, including the following topics: microbial ecology, control and elimination methods in food microbiology, food pathogenic bacteriology and foodborne disease hazards, food toxicology, microbiological deterioration, shelf-life extension, establishment of microbiological criteria, methods of sampling, enumerating, isolating and identifying microorganisms, etc.
(2) To advance my understanding of plant sanitation. At present, few scholars here are carrying out research on this subject. I strongly desire to gain expertise in hygienic design of food processing equipment, cleaner and sanitizer efficacy, biofilm, waste product handling, etc. If the situation warrants, I may also consider taking HACCP training courses on or off campus.
(3) To improve my abilities with statistics and computer applications. Because statistical procedures are essential tools in food research, I intend to take courses related to this area at your institute. Upon the completion of my studies, I will return to Taiwan. I aspire to devoting myself to teaching in colleges or continuing my research work in a research institute where I can serve the food industry more.
Huss, H.H. (1992) Development and use of the HACCP concept in fish processing.
Int'l. J. of Food Microbiology. 15, pp33-44.