According to the Islamic Food and Nutrition Counsel of America (IFANCA), sales of halal foods from restaurants and supermarkets are projected at $20 billion in 2016, a 33% growth from 2010) (Bloomberg News, September 14, 2016). Likewise, the U.S. kosher market serves over 12 million Americans who choose Kosher food products for health, food safety, taste, vegetarianism, lactose intolerance, and other dietary restrictions. Kosher foods generate $12 billion in annual sales and certifications exist for nearly 1,000,000 products in over 9,500 plants in more than 100 countries (according to the Orthodox Union, a leading kosher certifying agency). With this burgeoning market, food processors must be prepared for the diversity of foods they can potentially manufacture; while many require special certification, all manufactured foods require adequate documentation of the safety and quality of its supply chain.
The new Food Diversity Certificate, offered by the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, contains 15 hours of concentrated study in the areas of religious and ethnic foods as related to food processing, quality control, record keeping, and global certifications for foods and food ingredients. The curriculum will provide a strong knowledge base to students who desire to work in the food ingredient or food manufacturing field with an emphasis on the diverse array of certifications that may be required such as Halal, Kosher, organic, non-GMO, or gluten-free or quality certifications such as Safe Quality Foods and Global Food Safety Initiative. Therefore, students who complete a Food Diversity Certificate will be uniquely prepared for the challenges of a diverse food supply.