Food Safety Inspector

Keep food-borne illness to a minimum by watching out for disease.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$24,000 – $61,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Food Safety Inspectors do?

As anyone who’s ever had food poisoning knows, one can never be too careful with food. Food Safety Inspector keep food-borne illnesses to a minimum by overseeing the path that food takes, from the field to the customer’s plate.

Food can get contaminated at any point in this path, so as a Food Safety Inspector, you keep a close eye on everything. You oversee the planting, harvesting, and transportation of food. Food Safety Inspectors also make sure the people growing the food are using the correct amount and type of fertilizer and pesticide.

If a major problem is discovered, you see to it that all production is stopped until the issue is cleared up. This kind of oversight stops unethical Farmers or corporations from shipping out food they know to be contaminated.

Once food makes it to a restaurant or grocery store, your job doesn’t stop. In the store, you make sure foods are labeled correctly, stored at the right temperature, and disposed of when they pass their expiration date. For restaurants, you check up on the same things, but also examine the cleanliness of the kitchen and its workers. You make sure food is cooked at the proper temperature, equipment and workspaces are cleaned with bacteria-killing products, and employees wash their hands correctly and often.

Many in this business specialize in one category of food, like meat or imported goods. You can work either for the government, doing inspections, or in the private sector, making sure your company follows all necessary regulations.


Should I be a Food Safety Inspector?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Consumer Safety Officer, Plant Protection Specialist, Seed and Fertilizer Specialist

    How to become a Food Safety Inspector

    Food Safety Inspectors often have an Associate's degree or higher. Chart?chd=s:9ss3aa&chl=no+college+%2840%25%29|certificate+%2812%25%29|associate%27s+%2812%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2836%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,40,40
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