In this fast changing world, when safety of food items have come under severe scanner, a Food Safety Specialist plays key role in ensuring the quality of food we consume. The data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 76 million Americans contract food borne illness every year. That is a disturbing trend, as a significant part of our meals is now prepared at restaurants, canteens or commercial food processing facilities.
- Begin at High School: Aspiring Food Safety Specialists can start their preparations at high school level by opting for courses such as life science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science and communications.
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s Degree is must for all aspiring Food Safety Specialists. They generally study environmental health, biology or chemistry during the bachelor’s program. Also, they undergo training in food production and handling, sanitation, nutrition and quality assurance.
- Master’s Degree/Graduation Certificates: After completing the bachelor’s degree, the students can go for either a master’s degree or graduation certification program offered by various universities. Those courses help in getting in-depth knowledge in hazard control, food borne diseases, food laws etc. The National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP) will prove useful for the career aspirants.
- Coordinate and consult with food regulatory bodies and monitor the hygienic conditions
- Ensure the quality and safety of food supply
- Coordinate with procurement officers to ensure standardized food ingredient purchases
- Study food formulation procedures and identify health hazards
- Conduct surveys and audits on restaurants, hotels, canteens, cafeterias and other places
- Perform laboratory tests on sample foods and ingredients
- Conduct surveys on meat processing units etc.
- Enforce proper methods of seed selection, fertilization, pest control, harvesting, storage and transportation
- Make sure foods are properly labeled and kept at right temperature
- Conduct raids to make sure that expired food products are kept out of the shelves.
Salary & Job Outlook: The job outlook for this career is very bright, thanks to the rising awareness about the benefits of food safety and healthy eating habits. The average annual salary for a Food Safety Specialist is around $45,000 per year. Some Food Safety Specialists earn up to $70,000 per year.