Food Science and Technology and the OPT Program

April 23, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

The Department of Homeland Security offers non-immigrant students pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees the opportunity to participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT) with a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student's major area of study. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has recently been made aware that the major Food Science and Technology is not considered an approved field of study eligible for the OPT program, although the major fits the aims of the program as a STEM career. IFT strongly urges the Department of Homeland Security to add Food Science and Technology, CIP 01.10 (including Food Science, CIP 01.1001; Food Technology and Processing, CIP 01.1002; Food Science and Technology 01.1099) as an additional major eligible for the Optional Practical Training program.

Food Science-related majors should be considered an eligible field of study because of their broad impact on the safety of the national and global food supply. Food scientists and technologists apply many scientific disciplines to the study of food to improve the safety, nutrition, wholesomeness, and availability of food. The OPT program will have a tremendous impact on retaining and encouraging science and math students, and Food Science and Technology should be included because it is a valuable course of study that also must retain and increase students. There are currently over 45 universities that offer food science and technology degree programs to numerous students each year, and many more companies worldwide that employ food science and technology graduates. Non-immigrant students studying Food Science and Technology would benefit tremendously from the opportunity to participate in the OPT program.

We thank you in advance for considering Food Science and Technology as an eligible field of study for the OPT program. Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions.


John D. Floros, Ph.D. IFT President

Click here for letter (PDF)


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