Food quality control inspector, food safety officer
Food manufacturing inspectors make sure companies meet hygiene and safety standards, and that products are safe to eat.
Salary range: £15,000 to £30,000
How to become a food manufacturing inspector
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could do a college course, like the Level 3 Diploma in Food and Drink Operations. This would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can work towards this job by doing a food and drink process operator advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could start out in a food manufacturing operator role and move into inspection after further training.
To apply directly you’ll usually need:
- a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, science and maths
- experience in food production
- excellent knowledge of food laws
Some employers will also expect you to have qualifications in food technology, biology or chemistry. Others may ask for experience as a qualified environmental health officer.
You’ll also need food hygiene certificates.
You can find out more about careers in food safety from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- thinking and reasoning skills
- the ability to analyse quality or performance
- the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
- excellent verbal communication skills
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll usually need a driving licence to travel between sites.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- inspecting conditions in slaughterhouses and processing plants
- carrying out quality control checks
- testing samples of raw ingredients and processed products
- analysing and presenting results
- making sure production processes meet hygiene regulations
- training production staff in the importance of safety standards
- checking labelling and packaging
- writing quality reports
- advising companies about making improvements, and issuing warning notices
You could work at a manufacturing plant, in a factory or in an office.
Your working environment may be noisy and you’ll travel often.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience you could become a food safety manager, co-ordinating the work of a team of inspectors.
You could also move into environmental health or food science after training.