Food Safety Inspector Career

Job Description: Inspect agricultural commodities, processing equipment, and facilities, and fish and logging operations, to ensure compliance with regulations and laws governing health, quality, and safety.

*A job as a Food Safety Inspector falls under the broader career category of Agricultural Inspectors. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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Food Safety Inspector Career

What Food Safety Inspectors do:

  • Inspect food products and processing procedures to determine whether products are safe to eat.
  • Interpret and enforce government acts and regulations and explain required standards to agricultural workers.
  • Inspect agricultural commodities or related operations, as well as fish or logging operations, for compliance with laws and regulations governing health, quality, and safety.
  • Collect samples from animals, plants, or products and route them to laboratories for microbiological assessment, ingredient verification, or other testing.
  • Inspect the cleanliness and practices of establishment employees.
  • Write reports of findings and recommendations and advise farmers, growers, or processors of corrective action to be taken.
  • Verify that transportation and handling procedures meet regulatory requirements.
  • Examine, weigh, and measure commodities, such as poultry, eggs, meat, or seafood to certify qualities, grades, and weights.
  • Monitor the grading performed by company employees to verify conformance to standards.
  • Label and seal graded products and issue official grading certificates.
  • Inspect or test horticultural products or livestock to detect harmful diseases, chemical residues, or infestations and to determine the quality of products or animals.
  • Take emergency actions, such as closing production facilities, if product safety is compromised.
  • Monitor the operations and sanitary conditions of slaughtering or meat processing plants.
  • Testify in legal proceedings.
  • Provide consultative services in areas such as equipment or product evaluation, plant construction or layout, or food safety systems.
  • Compare product recipes with government-approved formulas or recipes to determine acceptability.
  • Direct or monitor the quarantine and treatment or destruction of plants or plant products.
  • Review and monitor foreign product inspection systems in countries of origin to ensure equivalence to the U.S. system.
  • Set standards for the production of meat or poultry products or for food ingredients, additives, or compounds used to prepare or package products.
  • Inquire about pesticides or chemicals to which animals may have been exposed.
  • Advise farmers or growers of development programs or new equipment or techniques to aid in quality production.
  • Set labeling standards and approve labels for meat or poultry products.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Holland Code Chart for a Food Safety Inspector