Food Sample Inspector

Food inspectors provide inspections of organizations that handle and prepare food, including restaurants, supermarkets and even slaughterhouses.

Fast Facts & Skills


Education & Training: 

Food Inspectors may obtain certificates or two-year degrees in food safety.  Inspectors who continue their education and earn a four-year degree or higher in food safety or a related field such as agriculture, biology or chemistry may advance to a wide range of inspection positions. 

Additional certifications: 

  • In California, a REHS (Registered Environmental Health Specialist) Certificate may be required
  • For food related positions, the HACCP Certification is a plus

Common requirements and abilities:

  • A valid driver's license
  • Able to life 50 lbs repeatedly
  • Able to follow directions and work independently
  • Ability to read, write, and communicate in English (Basic Level)
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to follow instructions and procedures accurately
  • Basic understanding of quality control principles and practices
  • Ability to use equipment and instruments effectively

Food inspectors provide inspections of organizations that handle and prepare food, including restaurants, supermarkets and even slaughterhouses. Food inspectors make sure food producers meet proper guidelines to ensure food is safe for human consumption.  Food inspectors can also ensure proper guidelines for the agriculture industry or the food that animals will ingest. They may physically measure, weigh, sample, and take temperatures (where applicable) of a variety of agricultural products in accordance with applicable standards and procedures.

Sample inspectors review, evaluate, and analyze work environments to ensure that facilities are following safe practices.  They also design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. They may perform basic laboratory testing of samples under supervision and take detailed notes and photographs to document the inspection process, and report all required field activities.

Food sample inspectors may also conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals. They ensure compliance with industry standards, safety regulations, and company-specific quality control guidelines. In many companies, they adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices, safety guidelines, and maintain a clean and organized work environment. After inspections, they communicate results to relevant personnel and collaborate on necessary actions.

Performs other special and miscellaneous duties as required, including sanitation and hazardous materials surveys, domestic water supply sampling, recreational water facilities; reclaimed waste waters; participates in meetings and educational conferences.

They may be employed in the public or private sector. Titles include environmental protection officers or under the broader term of Occupational Health and Safety Specialists. 

Alternative job titles:  Food Testing Laboratory Technician, Field Inspector (Agriculture), Quality Inspector, Environmental Health Inspector

Where to Work and Learn

Example Employers: 

InnovATEBIO programs offer degrees, certificates, or teach skills in these related areas.

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