For those who are interested in experiments and equipment, food inspector seems to be an interesting job. How to become a food inspector? Here we have provided some important tips and advice for you to break in this area.
Step 1: Understand the food inspector's description and responsibilities.
A food inspector performs quality inspections of food products and provides professional quality service to the clients. They make sure that your food won’t make you sick and meet the national standards. The position is of great responsibility and requires national certifications because it is directly related to human health. The duties include sample collection, component analysis, samples tests, data detection, and even equipment maintenance.
Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a food inspector or not
On one hand, the doorsill of the job is relatively low. It only requires an associate degree experience. The job would be a good opportunity for people interested in the food industry. And you can obtain much professional information on choosing daily food, which also helps to protect your health and that of your families. Besides, being a food inspector, the protection of people, brings you a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
On the other hand, a food inspector is a hard job with great responsibilities. The work is normally not dangerous but it is possible that the employees would get exposed to chemicals. You have to spend a lot of time doing experiments wearing lab coats. In some cases, you will have to lift heavy objects. Before making further efforts, you should consider whether you can handle this job or not.
Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for food inspector
Here we have listed the world’s top 50 universities in food safety and science as follows:
1. University of Wageningen
University, founded in 1876, is a prestigious institution of the study of life sciences. In recent decades, as a part of Wageningen UR, it has developed into an international research institution of plants, animals, environment, agricultural technology, food, and social sciences, dedicated to the dissemination of providing the world with adequate and high-quality food crops.
2. University of California, Davis
University of California, Davis, located in Sacramento, a world's leading research universities in the west of the belongs to the famous University of California system, is North America's top universities alliance association of American University. The university is a member of the Pacific Rim alliance members and international public University, known as the "public ivy league".
3. Jiangnan University
University, located in Jiangsu, China, has the only national first-class key discipline and state key laboratory in the field of food. In 2011, its food science and engineering undergraduate program successfully passed the IFT international food professional certification in the United States, indicating that the food talent training of Jiangnan University has reached the international advanced level
4. China Agricultural University
5. South China University of Technology
6. Ghent University
7. University of Massachusetts
8. University of Porto
9. Zhejiang University
10. University of Sao Paulo
11. University of Campinas
12. Nanjing Agricultural University
13. University of Copenhagen
14. University of Guelph
15. KU Leuven
16. University College Dublin
17. Nanchang University
18. Northwest A&F University
19. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
20. University of Naples Federico
Step 4: Go through College
In order to get into the industry, there are several majors you can choose from food quality and safety, food safety and testing, food science and technology and so on. The school is typically for 4 years, and the courses include food microbiology, food safety, and quality control, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, and food processing technology, food chemistry and food safety testing technology.
As a college student, the most important thing is to keep a high GPA, especially getting a good score in your specialized and experimental courses. Try your best to learn and gain more knowledge. You can reach out to some professors in your college to see if there are opportunities to work or volunteer in some relative programs. Most professors would welcome undergraduate students to help in the lab and give them some good advice. It’s also a good chance to ask for help if you have any issues with some subjects or work. And don’t forget to get a recommendation letter from your teachers, it can help you stand out from your peers and be very beneficial for your future career.
Step 5: Internship Opportunity
The position usually requires above 2 years of working experience in the lab, so it is very important to gather as much experience as you can. As I mentioned before, there are great opportunities in the college to get practice. But beyond that, you need to search for internship opportunities in some food companies. The priority is to improve yourself, so focus on challenging jobs that put you out of your comfort zone. If you are confused about how to get an intern job, you can ask some senior students with work experience for some tips. It is possible, they can recommend you to the firms they work or used to working in.
Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for a food inspector
1. A good grasp of the basic knowledge of the industry
To be a food inspector, you should be familiar with the quality and hygiene requirements of the food industry. If you can get a food inspector certification from the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), it can help you stand out by showing your professional knowledge and ability to solve problems.
2. Data analysis and writing kills
When you have the test results, you need to write a report about your inspection and give professional advice to your clients. So you would process an analyst the data getting from the experiments and explain them effectively and concisely. It is not that easy since the clients usually don’t really have specialized knowledge as the inspectors.
Step 7: Find relevant food inspection jobs, and apply it.
As mentioned earlier, the easier way to find a job is to get a recommendation from your mentors, schoolmates or friends. They can share some experience with you and help you get into the working world quickly. If you don’t have this kind of opportunity, don’t worry. Many companies would recruit new employees right before graduation. The job fairs in your university are also a good chance to apply for a job and learn more about the industry you are walking in.
Important Tools for a successful food inspector
Food quality control workers rely deeply on experimental tools to accomplish their job, and the types of tools vary with their duties. Some inspectors use calipers and alignment gauges to check the size of food; some use a Heavy metal detector to detect whether the heavy metal content in food exceeds the standards or is used illegally; some use microscopes to observe the microstructures of products. So you need to have a deep knowledge about all tools that will help you to accomplish your work
Develop your career path
When you become a food inspector, it is still very important to understand your future path. Usually, when you have 5 years of working experience, you have a choice of two different directions based on your own interest. You can become a quality supervisor/quality manager, or take over the lab as a laboratory supervisor. Three years later, you may have the opportunity to get a higher management position, even take charge of the food inspection station.