The former Food Science /Food Processing Department and the nutrition faculty within the former School of Human Development have a long tradition of service to the State. In 2002 the Department moved to Hitchner Hall to occupy new research laboratories that facilitate collaborations with scientists in other departments. In 2013, the department merged together with the departments of Animal and Veterinary Science, Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental Horticulture, and Ecology and Environmental Sciences to form the School of Food and Agriculture.
A team of eleven full-time faculty members, five staff members and numerous student employees work together. Over 160 undergraduate students study one of three academic concentrations: Food Science, Human Nutrition and Dietetics, and Food Management . The Didactic Program in Dietetics (human nutrition and dietetics concentration) is the only program in the State of Maine accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. After graduation, students are eligible to apply for a dietetic internship, which leads to a Registered Dietitian (RD) credential. This research cluster also includes about 35 graduate students studying for master’s degrees in Food Science and Human Nutrition and Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition Sciences. Moderate class sizes allow close interactions between faculty and students.
Faculty members maintain valuable partnerships with the food industry, health care and community settings throughout Maine and conduct collaborative research with colleagues within the State, the nation and around the globe. Research projects include vitamin D supplementation trials, behavioral intervention for obesity prevention, elderly surveillance systems, lipid and trace mineral metabolism as related to cardiovascular disease, effects of functional foods on degenerative diseases, natural antimicrobials, rapid detection of foodborne pathogens and pesticides, post-harvest food quality and safety, new food product development, and crab protein chemistry. Since relocating to Hitchner Hall, our faculty have successfully sought grants to strengthen our research capabilities. Recent research equipment acquisitions include LC-MS, hematology analyzer, clinical analyzer, bone densitometer, nitrogen analyzer, SafTest device for measuring lipid oxidation, spiral plater for microbiology, tissue baths, and many enhancements to the Consumer Testing Center and Pilot Plant.