Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Harrisburg Univerisity Opens Food "Science" Center

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology recently launched their Food Science and Technology Center and Consumer Insights Research Labratory. I'm too lazy to look up all the press releases and news articles about it, but you can find one here. HUST's web site states:

"The Harrisburg University Food Science & Technology Center promotes food science & technology research..."

No surprisingly, perspective students and the press have been fooled into thinking that there might actually be some type of food science happening at HUST.  The truth is, there is NO FOOD SCIENCE AT HUST. Let me say that again. There is  NO FOOD SCIENCE AT HUST. If you are a perspective student interested in food science, go someplace else.

HUST does indeed have a Food Safety & Quality Assurance program, but that program will never produce food scientists. It is appropriate for food workers and managers, but lacks the rigor of a food science program.

[11/2 update: I've received conflicting information about the Food Safety and Quality Assurance program at HUST. I'm unable to confirm either statement, so the information has been removed. Sorry.]

Food Science is a legitimate scientific field. Most university food science programs are certified by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). If you want to see what actual food science programs look like, check out some of the programs listed in the approved undergraduate programs section of the IFT's web site. Locally, Penn State has a world class food science program.

Food science is hardcore science. It requires training in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, microbiology and advanced mathematics, you know, the stuff you might find at a STEM school (you can check out a curriculum here). HUST probably could have put together a legitimate food science program if the Provost had supported it and the microbiologist hadn't stopped working and they renewed the contract of their only chemist. Maybe they can do some virtual food science in the virtualsphere since there isn't any real food science.

Anyhow, what the Food Science and Technology Center at HUST really is is a "lab" that looks like a converted Storage Closet of Science where consumers can taste some Hershey's candy and fill out a survey. Yeah, that's really it. There are no students learning any kind of science. There are no other clients other than Hershey Foods (who gave HUST a grant for the Storage Closet of Science), there are no kitchens or laboratories.

Yep. A questionable "Food Science Center" in a shiny building. That's about it.

“We are creating a unique research program where students will learn applied science and technology that has meaningful, real-world applications,” said Dr. Eric Darr, Executive Vice President and Provost, Harrisburg University. “.....This research will not only benefit the innovation work of one of the world’s best-known companies, it will give students the opportunity to gain practical experience that will prepare them for science and technology jobs.” -HUST Press Release

"In all its activities, whether internal or external, an institution should keep its promises, honor its contracts and commitments, and represent itself truthfully." - Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education, Requirements of Affiliation and Standards for Accreditation 2009. Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


  1. You forgot to mention the bums. Yeah dude, lots of freaking bums coming in for free candy. I quit that shit job because the bums stink and I don't want to deal with that. Every try to get a stinky bum to fill out a survey? I just made stuff up so they would leave.

  2. Sorry. Should I change the title of the post?

    "HUST opens a Storage Closet of Science. Now with bums!"