Food Inspector

Check the safety of food in restaurants and factories.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $94,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Food Inspectors do?

Although food is essential to our survival, it also has the potential to cause illness or even death. We take it for granted that all food is safe, but it isn’t exactly void of harmful components. Thankfully, once it passes the inspection of a Food Inspector, we can rest assured that it is. That’s because Food Inspectors spend their days in restaurants and food production facilities, ensuring that the food is handled, packaged, and prepared in a safe manner.

As a Food Inspector, you thoroughly inspect every nook and cranny of the kitchen so that the rest of us can order from the menu unafraid. You measure the temperature of the refrigeration systems, and check dates on any items inside. You also look for signs of cross contamination, such as raw meat placed next to cooked foods.

You also observe other safety practices in the kitchen, like how long raw meat sits out before being cooked. You look for signs of freshness in the foods, and even send samples off to the lab to check for harmful bacteria. You also evaluate the cooking and preparation surfaces. Is the dishwater at a hot enough temperature? Are cleaning schedules strictly enforced? What type of cleaners are used in the kitchen?

In a packaging plant, you investigate similar safety procedures. You look at the process as well as the product being processed, check cooking and storage temperatures, and look for signs of pests or rodents in the facility. You also observe if personal hygiene practices are being followed, such as the use of hair nets.

The rest of us will probably never see what goes on inside a packaging plant. But thanks to you, we don’t have to. Food products can make the leap from plant to kitchens without us worrying for our health and safety.

Should I be a Food Inspector?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Food and Drug Inspector, OSHA Inspector, Rabies Inspector, Tick Inspector, Water Inspector

    How to become a Food Inspector

    Most Food Inspectors have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:acf9kc&chl=|certificate+%283%25%29|associate%27s+%286%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2874%25%29|master%27s+%2813%25%29|doctorate+%283%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,74
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