There are many different kinds of food safety jobs. Most fall into one of four main categories: food inspectors, scientific opportunities in the food safety field, veterinary medical officers, and administrative opportunities. Each can be broken down to create hundreds of food safety jobs; but first, it is important to discover which category sparks the most personal interest.
Food inspectors comprise the largest group of employees of all of the food safety jobs. In general, food inspectors protect the health of the public by ensuring food safety. Entry level positions are often found in privately-owned slaughtering facilities where the food inspectors are expected to inspect the animals both prior to and after their slaughter. Other food inspectors become consumer safety inspectors and usually work in private egg, poultry and meat processing plants, making sure that the plant follows its guidelines for sanitation and processing. Other food inspectors become import inspectors at ports and border crossings to make sure that imported foods are safe for human consumption
Scientific opportunities abound for people interested in a wide range of food safety jobs. Scientific analyses of eggs, poultry, and meat are important ways to determine whether a particular food source is safe. In addition, microbiological, chemical, and pathological tests are often performed on food to ensure that there are no pathogens or other microbes that could make people sick. Examples of science being used in the food safety industry are seen when an illness or disease breaks out that has been linked to food, such as when the e.coli bacteria is found in a meat or vegetable source.
Although most people do not think of veterinarians when they consider food safety jobs, public health veterinarians are essential to the safety of our food. They ensure that the food is safe as it moves from the farm to the home. They also work with public health employees to make sure that the standards of sanitation are followed in poultry and meat plants. They enforce inspection protocol and procedures for the transportation of live animals, the humane slaughter of animals, the processing of the meat, and the transportation and sale of the product to grocery stores. Their primary goal is to prevent foodborne illnesses from plaguing people while inspecting and evaluating the effectiveness of the current safety measures.
Lastly, there are countless food safety jobs that exist as administrative opportunities. These jobs vary widely and include data analysts to give food inspectors statistical support, legislative affairs specialists to communicate with the public, and risk managers to create solutions in the food safety industries. All are valuable jobs in the food safety sector.