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What does a Food Inspector do?

Learn all about Food Inspector duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Food Inspector.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A food inspector is responsible for ensuring that the food we eat is safe and of good quality. They inspect food production and processing facilities to make sure they are following hygiene and safety regulations. They also take samples of food to test for contaminants.

Food Inspector job duties include:

  • Inspect food preparation and serving areas to ensure compliance with sanitary regulations
  • Inspect food products and ingredients for quality and safety
  • Test food products for chemical, bacterial, and other contaminants
  • Approve or reject food products based on inspection results
  • Investigate complaints about food safety and sanitation
  • Educate food service workers on proper food handling and safety procedures
  • Enforce food safety regulations
  • Maintain records of inspections and violations
  • Prepare reports on inspection findings

Food Inspector Job Requirements

A food inspector is responsible for ensuring that the food we eat is safe. They inspect food production facilities and make sure that they are following proper safety procedures. To become a food inspector, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete a training program and pass an exam. Some states also require you to have experience working in the food industry.

Food Inspector Skills

  • Food safety
  • Food handling
  • Food preparation
  • Food storage
  • Foodborne illness
  • Food labeling
  • Food service
  • Restaurant inspection
  • Sanitation
  • Food safety regulations
  • HACCP

Related: Top Food Inspector Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Food Inspector

There are many ways to become a food inspector. One can either become a certified food inspector through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or a state-level program, or one can become a food safety specialist through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The most common route to becoming a food inspector is through the FDA.

The FDA offers two types of certification for food inspectors: the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS) and the Certified Food Safety Professional (CFSP). To become an REHS/RS, one must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental health, natural sciences, or a related field from an accredited institution, and must pass a written examination. To become a CFSP, one must have at least three years of full-time experience in food safety, including one year in a management position, and must pass a written examination.

The USDA also offers a certification program for food safety specialists. To become certified, one must have at least a bachelor’s degree in food science, nutrition, or a related field from an accredited institution, and must pass a written examination.

Once certified, food inspectors typically work for state or local governments, or for private companies that contract with government agencies. Inspectors typically work regular business hours, but may be required to work evenings or weekends as needed. Inspectors typically travel to various locations to conduct inspections.

Related: Food Inspector Resume Example

Related: Food Inspector Interview Questions (With Example Answers)