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Principal Scientist - New Product Development Salads

Full-Time - Salinas, CA, United States

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Chiquita Brands International, a leading international marketer and distributor of fresh and processed food products is pleased to accept applications for a Principal Scientist in Food Science and Technology or Food Microbiology for their R&D department located in Salinas, California.

The highly motivated, successful applicant will be responsible for the identification, development, and commercialization of new products and product improvements, and for supporting business and marketing improvement initiatives for our salad product line. The successful incumbent is expected to effectively lead the research in the area of commercial vegetable processing, including pre- and post-processing treatment, storage, and packaging design. Responsibilities also include documentation and identification of drivers for quality of new and existing products and processes to ensure the sustainable growth and profitability of the company.

Focus of this position will be on the development and commercial implementation of new or improved salad products, research of interactions among variety, maturity, processing, and storage on quality for fresh-cut vegetables, the relationship of processing parameters to the microstructure and sensory attributes of fresh-cut vegetables, control of the microbiological quality and safety of vegetables, intervention technologies for reducing spoilage microorganisms and pathogens, application of food grade antimicrobial agents, novel and rapid methods for the detection of human pathogens and their control. The applicant will be expected to work inside vegetable processing plants under challenging temperature conditions, able to lift up to 50 lbs. Domestic travel will be required to locations in California, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas for up to 15% of the time. The applicant is expected to possess a valid driverís license.

Preference will be given to applicants with experience in food microbiology, postharvest physiology, processing, new product development and packaging design for fresh-cut vegetables in an industrial or applied research environment and to bilingual (English/Spanish) applicants.


Job Responsibilities:

  • Work cross-functionally to develop new products and processes, improve existing products and to effectively solve problems.
  • Develop new or improved ways of harvesting, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering fresh vegetables.
  • Adopt and use innovative diagnostic tools and processing technologies to improve product quality, to detect and control spoilage microorganisms and human pathogens.
  • Apply consumer research and sensory testing to product development and improvement.
  • Improve existing products by optimizing processes and product attributes (sensory properties, cost, post-harvest quality and nutritional profiles).
  • Respond to incoming field/manufacturing/customer questions and by providing detailed technical research-based information and documentation.
  • Design and execute experiments (laboratory and plant level) and prepare results for review.
  • Select raw materials and equipment, define operational conditions, manage commissioning of new equipment, conduct trials, and conduct shelf-life testing of products.
  • Design and organize microbial, sensory, and nutritional analyses.
  • Develop raw product, finished product, and processing specifications.
  • Develop and review nutritional labels for new and existing products.
  • Assist with the implementation and scale-up of new products and processes.
  • Maintain accurate and complete records, and report findings in the form of technical documents, presentations, and standard operating procedures.
  • Responsible for technical leadership in the area of processing, packaging, microbiological quality and safety of fresh-cut vegetables.
  • Responsible for creating and managing project plans and timelines.
  • Effectively present research findings to other members of the organization, growers, industry and university collaborators.
  • Effectively supervise employees.
  • Manage and maintain R&D laboratory, microbiological, chemical and physical laboratory equipment and supplies.
  • Maintain accurate and complete records and data bases, and report findings in the form of reports, technical documents and presentations.
  • Provide and promote collaboration with university-based researchers to facilitate research and implementation of results.

Required Education:

  • Minimum of MS degree in Food Science and Technology, Food Microbiology, Postharvest Technology or closely related field. PhD desired.

Required Experience:

  • Minimum 5 years experience in an industrial or applied research environment in the area of food science and technology, food microbiology, postharvest physiology, processing, or new product development for fresh-cut vegetables.
  • Demonstrated experience with the experimental design, execution and management of laboratory and Pilot Study trials, and data collection.

Required Skills:

  • Highly proficient with statistical analysis programs such as MS Excel, Word, Power Point, SigmaPlot, SAS, Statistica, Minitab or JMP software programs.
  • Versed in food safety standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Food Safety standards, and preventative controls, and FSMA Regulations on Produce.
  • Demonstrated working-knowledge in data-mining and statistical analysis, and proficiency or ability to learn data base management.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work with cross functional teams, internally and externally (e.g. research institutes, representatives of processing and produce industries, suppliers, laboratories, etc.)
  • Demonstrated project management skills.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills (pays attention to details and effort to understand causes instead of just the effects) and creativity for developing innovative solutions and applications.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with strong emphasis on technical presentations and reports.
  • Ability to effectively manage multiple projects under short time lines to produce commercially viable solutions.
  • Excellent analytical skills, knowledge in statistical analysis, attention to detail and the ability to multi-task in a fast paced environment.

About Chiquita Brands International

Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh and value-added food products - from energy-rich bananas and other fruits to nutritious blends of convenient green salads. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita(R) and Fresh Express(R) premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs more than 21,000 people and has operations in nearly 70 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit

In the United States, Chiquita Brands International, Inc. requires that applicants provide authorization and consent to a background check and a drug screen to continue in the selection process. All employment offers are contingent on meeting our background check standards and successful passing of required drug test. If hired, you will be required to provide documentation indicating your legal right to work in the U.S which may be verified through Chiquita's participation in the E-Verify program.

As an Equal Opportunity employer, Chiquita Brands International and its subsidiaries provide an environment that promotes individual recognition and achievement. We recruit, hire, train, compensate and promote associates without regard to race, sex, color, religion, age, national origin, disability or veteran's status.

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