A deep dive into food inspections and graduate studies with Mariia Melnychuk, Food Processing Specialist Inspector at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency | Ep. 84

Mariia Melnychuk is a Food Processing Specialist Inspector at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Food Safety & Quality Assurance MSc. student at the University of Guelph. The CFIA is a key science-based federal regulator of food, animals and plants. The CFIA is committed to enhancing the safety of food produced and sold in, or imported into, Canada, contributing to the health of animals and protecting the plant resource base.

Mariia graduated from Niagara College with an advanced diploma & Associate’s Degree in Food Science and Technology and since then has held multiple food safety positions. Her current master’s research is looking at consumers perceptions of cultured meat.

Show notes


[00:00] Introduction

[1:02] Mariia’s Journey to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

[8:40] Important skills for a food processing inspector

[15:21] Stories that have stuck out to Mariia

[18:54] Exploring Maria’s UofG Master’S Program

[24:20] Mariia’s thesis on perceptions in cell based meats

[25:45] Choosing the Right Research Topic

[26:43] Difficulties of conducting surveys

[27:06] Current State of Cell-Based Meats in Canada

[30:29] The Role of Supervisors in Research

[38:23] Why Mariia decided to get a master’s degree

[40:29] Advice for Students and Closing Remarks

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

University of Guelph’s Food Safety and Quality Assurance program

Information about the different roles CFIA inspectors carry out

Mariia Melnychuk Quotes

As an inspector in agri-food group, we look after a wide range of commodities, right? For example,honey, eggs, dairy, processed fruit and vegetable, fresh fruit and vegetable and also fish. Essentially in terms of inspections, you know, we are looking for the similar things. You know, we’re looking that the companies are producing safe foods at all times and that they’re meeting regulatory requirements. My job responsibilities could include collecting food samples, performing permission or label reviews, preventive control inspections, or for example, pre-license and license amendment verification inspections. – Mariia Melnychuk

[About writing emails] I think it’s just so easy to be misunderstood, right? If you don’t develop the skills in a proper way it’s so easy to type up four paragraphs when really it should just be one paragraph and, like, nobody wants to read all of that, right? – Mariia Melnychuk

Cell based meats are a type of, food product that is created by cultivating animal cells in a controlled laboratory environment which happens outside of an animal’s body. Then the cells are nurtured and multiplied until they form edible tissues, which can then be harvested and processed into various meat products. And the aim of cell based meats is to provide a more sustainable and ethical alternative to a traditional animal agriculture. – Mariia Melnychuk

So I was very keen to learn and grow my knowledge. And you know, I read a lot about the program that University of Guelph, was offering. And heir core course selection and I knew that I would enjoy it a lot. I knew it was going to be challenging to work and study at the same time. But, it is so worth it. – Mariia Melnychuk

[Advice to students] Taking opportunities as they come and not being afraid of a challenge. I think that’s something that students should be willing to do from time to time. – Mariia Melnychuk

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