A Chat with… Milda Embuscado, IFT Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods Division

Science Meets Food is beginning a new monthly feature, interviews with IFT Division leaders. IFT Divisions are a great resource for students and professionals alike. There are many divisions that focus on topics such as QA, R&D, specific foods and more.  Our first interview is with Milda Embuscado of the Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods Division.

mildaName: Milda Embuscado

Job title: Principal Scientist

Company: McCormick & Company, Inc., Maryland, USA

Highest Level of Education/Degree: Ph. D.


What does your schedule look like today?

  • Prepare for a couple of meetings with product developers, answer important emails, plan for next week’s work activities, including work to be completed by a technician
  • Set up HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) to determine the composition of hard material from a tank used in preparation of an emulsion,  prepare and start HPLC analysis of samples including standards
  • Check if the sorption analyzer and Safe Storage probe are working properly (Safe Storage is used to monitor RH and temperature for shelf life tests of flavor encapsulated products),  conduct statistical analysis of data obtained last week, tabulate results and prepare the report
  • Review data from HPLC analysis, prepare and send the report to the plant
  • Review status of flavor encapsulation project and plan for next week’s activities; wrap up the day’s activities

How did you go about finding your current job?  I was recruited by an employment agency and a friend convinced me to apply. Listen to the advice of your friends.

Who do you think is the most influential person in your field?  There are actually 2 of them, both from Purdue University – Professors Philip Nelson and James BeMiller.  Why?  Both accomplished a lot during their careers (and still continue to accomplish a lot). They have vision and they raised the bar in their respective fields.  They are also very effective teachers because they show by example.  They exemplify professionalism at the highest level.

When are you most inspired?  When there are a lot of questions about the research results or if something people say cannot be done.  Philip E. Nelson, 2007 World Food Prize Winner and Professor Emeritus at Purdue University once said. “Failure is not falling down but staying down when you fall.”  Professor Nelson is an inspiration to all of us who had the honor of working with him.

If you could know one thing now, that you didn’t know then, what would it be? Being adept in statistics, computers and computer programs is very important in any field; these are great and indispensable tools whether you are working for the university or the food industry.

Why should I join the Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (or any other) Division?  It is one of the best Divisions where student members can learn from the other IFT members.  All one has to do is to join – it is free – and participate actively and connect with the other members. There is tremendous knowledge and experience in each division and it is up to YOU to tap this resource.

The most valuable thing I can do to further my research/career as soon as I finish reading this interview is:  Go back to the lab and continue working on a project and if there is time left (or in between lab tests) start reading scientific articles, books, to further your understanding. Learn more.  Learning is endless.

What is your favorite food?  Big, yellow, juicy mangoes and purple yam.

To join the Nutraceuticals & Functional Foods Division, click here

To ask Milda a question, or to send her a big juicy mango, email her at Milda_Embuscado@mccormick.com.

 Photo Credit: IFT

Science Meets Food

The IFT Student Association (IFTSA) is a forward-looking, student-governed community of IFT members. Through competitions, scholarships, networking, and leadership opportunities, you’ll set yourself apart from your classmates (unless they’re members too).


  1. Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, Milda. This is really informative for students looking forward to their careers in food science!

Leave a Reply