Listen to a conversation between a student and her professor.
Before we get started, I... I just wanted to say I'm glad you chose food science for your major courses study.
Yeah, it seems like a great industry to get involved with.
I mean with the four-year degree in food science, I'll always be able to find a job.
You're absolutely right. Before entering academia, I worked as a scientist for several food manufacturers and for the US Food and Drug Administration.
I even worked on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska a couple of summers while I was an undergraduate.
We bring in the day's catch to a floating processor boat where the fish got cleaned, packaged and frozen right at sea.
As a matter of fact, I'm sort of interested in food packaging.
Well, for that, you'll need a strong background in physics, math and chemistry.
Those are my best subjects.
For a long time, I was leading towards getting my degree in engineering.
Well, then you shouldn't have a problem.
And fortunately, at this university, the department of food science offers a program in food packaging.
Elsewhere, you might have to hammer courses together on your own.
I guess I luck out then.
Um... so since my appointment today is to discuss my term paper topic, I wanted to ask, could I write about food packaging?
I realize we're supposed to research food-borne bacteria, but food packaging must play a role in all of that, right?
Absolutely! Maybe you should do some preliminary research on that.
I have! That's the problem, I'm overwhelmed.
Well, in your reading, did anything interest you in particular?
I mean something you'd like to investigate.
Well, I was surprised about the different types of packaging used for milk.
You know, clear plastic bottles, opaque bottles, cardboard containers...
True! In fact, the type of packaging has something to do with the way milk's treated against bacteria.
Yeah, and I read a study that showed how light can give milk a funny flavor and decrease the nutritional value.
And yet most milk bottles are clear.
What's up with that?
Well consumers like being able to visually examine the color of the milk.
That might be one reason that opaque bottles haven't really caught on.
But that study... I'm sure there is more studies on the subject.
You shouldn't base your paper on only one study.
Maybe I should write about those opaque plastic bottles.
Find out if there are any scientific reasons they aren't used more widely?
Maybe opaque bottles aren't as good at keeping bacteria from growing in milk after the bottle has been opened to something...
But where to begin researching this? I don't have a...
You know, there is a dairy not far from here in Chelsea.
It was one of the first dairies to bottle milk in opaque plastic, but now they're using clear plastic again.
And they're always very supportive of the university and our students, so if you want it...
Yeah, I like that idea.