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Food manufacturing inspector Food quality control inspector, food safety officer

Food manufacturing inspectors make sure companies meet hygiene and safety standards, and that products are safe to eat.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,500 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, science and maths
  • experience in food production
  • excellent knowledge of food laws

Some employers will also expect you to have qualifications in food technology, biological science or chemistry. Others may ask for experience as a qualified environmental health officer.

You’ll also need food hygiene certificates.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • attention to detail
  • communication skills
  • IT skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include: 

  • inspecting conditions in slaughterhouses and processing plants
  • carrying out quality control checks
  • testing samples of raw ingredients and processed products
  • analysing and presenting results
  • making sure production processes meet hygiene regulations
  • training production staff in the importance of safety standards
  • checking labelling and packaging
  • writing quality reports
  • advising companies about making improvements, and issuing warning notices

4. Salary

Starter: £15,500 to £19,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £25,000 to £30,000

Some inspectors are paid based on the number of premises they visit, with a rate of between £30 and £50 an inspection. 

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work up to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, although spot checks could be made at any time.
 
You’ll travel between food production premises, so you’ll need a driving licence and access to transport.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become a food safety manager, coordinating the work of a team of inspectors. 

You could also move into environmental health or food science after training.

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Last updated: 21 August 2017