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Career Definition of a Food Safety Officer
Food safety officers play an important role in ensuring that food products are safe for consumers. Their essential duties can involve inspecting food processing facilities and procedures to ensure that applicable regulations are being followed. They may also test samples of food products and investigate complaints.
Food safety officers may perform this role as an employee of an independent authority, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They may also work for companies that create and process food products. Food safety officers who work for food production companies emphasize compliance of FDA regulations and any other relevant laws or regulations are followed by their company. They also identify potential problems with their company's operations and develop ways to improve processing. When employed in this type of environment they may also be responsible for supervising other staff that are involved in maintaining production quality.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Organization, time management, independent work skills, analytical, communication, attention to detail|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$63,950 (food scientists and technologists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||6% (food scientists and technologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Food safety officers must complete studies in subjects such as food technology, biological sciences or a similar field. They need to develop analytical skills as part of their training. Positions in this field typically require a bachelor's degree. Food safety inspectors may also be required to earn a standardization certificate through an FDA program to demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge for this career.
Food safety officers must have good organizational skills so that they can prioritize duties and, when required, assign tasks to other staff in their team. They also need to be capable of working independently and meeting deadlines effectively, so they also need independent work and time management skills. Attention to detail is important because they need to ensure that all regulations are met when investigating issues or reviewing operational procedures. They also need communication skills to produce reports or inform staff of their findings and recommendations.
Career Outlook and Salary
Food safety officers are included with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) occupational data provided for food safety scientists. This group of professionals encompasses the broader occupational category for food scientists and technologists. According to BLS reports, food scientists and technologists earned a median income of $63,950 per year in 2016. From 2016 to 2026 they are expected to see jobs increase in their field by 6%.
Food safety officers ensure that food products are safe for consumption and follow product regulations, so aspiring food safety specialists may also want to consider other career options that involve performing tests to ensure safety regulation compliance. Links to more information about some careers that involve these duties are provided here.