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Food Safety Specialist

Who is a Food Safety Specialist?

A food safety specialist, who is otherwise called as ‘food inspector’ is the healthcare professional who would help in protecting the people from foodborne diseases. He/she would do this through continuous monitoring of food safety, quality, processing methods, and equipment. As a food safety specialist, you must stay up to date on regulations for the food industry. Also, you must be confident in issuing citations.

Work Settings:

Food safety specialists would divide their time between their offices, labs, and food processing plants. The work they carry out could be fast-paced with strict deadlines. As a food safety specialist, you can work for private companies, as well as for government agencies.

Job Description:

The roles and duties of a food safety specialist would include the following:

  • Coordinating and consulting with the local food regulatory authorities regarding food safety and hygiene

  • Coordinating with procurement officers with regards to the purchases of standardized ingredients

  • Educating food handlers on:

    • Health guidelines

    • Food safety policies

    • Health codes



  • Studying products, formulations, and preparation methods for the purpose of identifying health hazards

  • Conducting audits in:

    • Restaurants

    • Hotels

    • Cafeterias

    • Companies



  • Rating food safety practices in accordance with the guidelines and policies

  • Suggesting corrections for enhancing the poor ratings

  • Determining whether a particular business is complying with food safety regulations

  • Looking for visible evidence of pests and small animals in the food preparation zone

  • Performing lab tests for determining the threat level

  • Updating knowledge on food safety by studying


How to become a Food Safety Specialist?

Educational Requirements:

In order to become a food safety specialist, a bachelor’s degree with major in any of the following fields is required:

  • Environmental health

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Food science

  • Food safety

  • Nutrition


Training and Certification:

There are some local food safety programs offering training with regards to the food safety guidelines and standards devised by the:

  • S. Department of Agriculture

  • S Food and Drug Administration

  • ISO 22000

  • HACCP

  • S Department of Health services


Also, it is advisable to join a graduate degree or certification program in food science/safety. For more details about the requirements and information on the course, exams, and schedules, please visit: National Registry of Food Safety Professionals.

Job Outlook and Opportunities:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for the agriculture inspector jobs (including food safety inspectors) has been estimated to remain unchanged from the year 2012 to 2022.

Pay:

According to the www.payscale.com, the median annual pay for food safety specialists is found to be $50,781 per year (as of January 2016).

Summary:

Average Annual Pay:  $50,781

Education:  Bachelor’s degree plus food safety certification

Employment Growth from 2012 to 2022: Unchanged

On-the-job training: None

Work Experience: 2+ years related experience