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.
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.
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:
Food safety policies
Studying products, formulations, and preparation methods for the purpose of identifying health hazards
Conducting audits in:
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?
In order to become a food safety specialist, a bachelor’s degree with major in any of the following fields is required:
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
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.
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).
Average Annual Pay: $50,781
Education: Bachelor’s degree plus food safety certification