Is ‘Food Safety Officer’ the right job for you?
Food Safety Officers work to improve food hygiene and protect public health. They help to develop, promote, and check standards of food hygiene in retail, catering, and even our homes. If you want to become a part of this important service, a career in Food Safety could be right for you.
What is the job of a Food Safety Officer?
If you are a Food Safety Officer at a local council, you will be a part of the Environmental Health team. Your job will include inspecting premises and issuing their licences and ratings, as well as investigating customer complaints and incidents. You’ll either plan or participate in a programme of food sampling (routine checks). You will probably also be involved in helping to promote food safety in general – educating the general public about food poisoning and hygiene, and possibly organising food safety training courses. At a senior level, you could be managing a team of inspectors, training them, advising them, and reviewing their performance.
If you are a Food Safety Officer at a company or venue – like a theme park or hotel group – then you will be required to oversee food safety in all of that company’s catering locations. You will liaise with Food Safety inspectors at the local council, as well as suppliers and staff, to ensure that the overall level of food safety is high. You’re responsible for checking food hygiene at every point in the supply chain so that it is delivered safely to your company’s customers.
For many Food Safety officers, incidents and emergencies mean that weekend hours are occasionally required. You may spend additional time travelling to premises that you have to inspect or advise. So you’ll need to be flexible and committed.
What training is required to become a Food Safety Officer?
It varies according to employer. A degree in Food Technology, a diploma in Environmental Health and/or a Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection may be required. An understanding of HACCP, and a qualification, is often also specified.
Get started with our Food Safety online courses:
Our Food Safety online courses are designed in line with the latest guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. They’re CPD accredited.
Would you make a good Food Safety Officer?
- Are you an excellent communicator? To do a good job you will need to be confident and communicative, as you’ll be advising and monitoring people and their services.
- Are you a keen learner? A commitment to progress is important; food and environmental safety guidelines change all the time, and you will also be expected to make your service more efficient and effective. Inspectors now look for a ‘positive food safety culture’, which means catering staff and managers should be trained and proactive – like you – in their approach.
- Can you handle emergencies and solve problems? Being calm in a crisis and able to problem-solve are both helpful.
- Do you have the potential to lead a team? If you graduate to a Senior Food Safety Officer role then you will be managing other people and need to develop your skills in reviews and appraisals.