How to become a Food Inspector: Eligibility Criteria, Skills Required, Salary

A Food Inspector is an official who examines the quality of food products and make sure that they adhere to the standard safety regulations before being offered to the public. A Food Inspector might also hold the power to temporarily shut down any restaurant or enterprise if food regulations are found to be violated. It is quite an exciting career for those with interest in the same with good earning potential and job prospects. Any graduate student can follow his/her dream of becoming a food inspector by clearing any government and private food inspector exam. In this article, details on how to become a food inspector along with their basic responsibilities, necessary skills career prospects, salaries, etc. are provided.

Duties & Responsibilities of Food Inspector

Food inspectors analyze the food being prepared at any food organization or restaurants and hotels and report about its quality back to the higher officials. It is their duty to make sure that food safety protocols and government regulations pertaining to food are followed properly. If any deviation is found, a food inspector must report it back to authorities and if necessary public should also be informed about the same as well. If required, they can also offer advice to the organizations to help them rectify if any rule is broken. Here is listed the numerous duties and responsibilities of a Food Inspector.

  • Analyzing the quality of food prepared in food processing units and meals cooked in restaurants and hotels
  • Making sure that food safety protocols are being followed thoroughly
  • Examining all the regulations regarding food processing and storage are properly followed
  • Checking for proper labeling in packaged food products
  • Assessing that proper cleanliness and hygiene is maintained in the area where food is prepared or processed
  • Making sure of sanitary conditions in poultry, livestock and dairy farms to ensure that the animals are free from infections
  • Offering advice to food enterprises and restaurants/ hotels to help them adhere to national health and safety regulations

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Eligibility Criteria for Food Inspector

Different exams are conducted by Central Government and State Governments to select candidate for the role of Food Inspector. The basic eligibility criteria for appearing in these exams are given below.

  • Any candidate with a graduation degree of at least 3 years in any field from a recognized university is eligible to apply for Food Inspector exams.
  • Some authorities have certain age limits prescribed between 21 to 42 years for appearing in the Food Inspector exams. The same should be confirmed before applying.

Skills required to become a Food Inspector

Other than the basic eligibility, there are some skill requirements to become a Food Inspector. These are basic communication skill, physical fitness and others. Check the skills requirement below.

  1. Since the Food Inspector role involves meeting with a lot of people, a good communication skill is required to interact affluently with them.
  2. To coordinate between various teams effectively, which is a part of Food Inspector job, a good management skill is required.
  3. The skill to write a report properly with every little important detail is also a requirement to become a Food Inspector.
  4. Basic proficiency in using computer and working on PowerPoint, MS Word and Excel spreadsheets is required.
  5. Proper knowledge of health and safety standards is important so that they can be enforced wherever required.
  6. Food Inspector is a field job and therefore candidates should be physically fit to make regular field visits.
  7. Good sense of smell and sight is required so that basic quality of food can be recognized through its color and odor.
  8. Food Inspectors are also required to visit places like slaughterhouse, meat-packing plants and other unhealthy environment. For these roles, the candidates should be psychologically fit with good immune system.

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How to Become a Food Inspector?

Candidates first have to complete their graduation degree to be eligible to work as a Food Inspector. Those with a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university can appear for the Food Inspector exam conducted by different state and national governing authorities. The All India Food Inspector Exam is a nationwide test conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) that selects candidates for the role of Food Inspector in government’s food department. This is the most common and prestigious exam for all the Food Inspector aspirants. After completing graduation, clearing this exam will be the first step towards becoming a Food Inspector. The exam might have other rounds such as interview, medical fitness, etc as described by the concerned authorities. Once all the rounds are cleared successfully, candidates will be appointed as Food Inspectors.

Other than UPSC, there are other state governing bodies that conduct selection test for the role of Food Inspector. Interested candidates can apply to any of these exams given they meet the prescribed eligibility criteria.

Job Prospects & Salary of Food Inspector

The growing concern for food safety has increasing the demand for Food Inspectors. They are now required in both government and private institutions to maintain and control the quality of food being processed or prepared. There is a scope for Food Inspector in central and state government and in private establishments as well. Food Inspectors also get a good salary package. Based on the exam they clear, the industry in which they are employed and the years of experience they have in the field, the salary ranges from 1.5 lakhs to 10.4 Lakhs. The average annual salary for a food inspector is 3.7 Lakhs. Now let us see the various job prospects available for those who want to become a food division officer.

Food Inspector: A Food Inspector official analyzes the quality of food and ensures that it is made under hygienic conditions. Food Inspectors are responsible for quality-checking the food products to make sure that it is safe for consumption. He/ she has to visit different institutions where food is prepared or processed and check that everything is going as per the standard laid down regulation or else report it to the higher officials.

Food Scientist: A Food Scientist is responsible for researching and analyzing the nutritional value of food ingredients and the food as a whole. Food scientists are also responsible for devising techniques to ensure the standard quality of food. Many packaged food producing companies hire food scientists to carry out research and development for their product line.

Food Technologists: A Food Technologist is responsible for applying scientific disciplines like chemistry, engineering, microbiology, etc. to the study of food. They study food sources to find new groundbreaking techniques to create safely-packed processed food with accurate labeling. Food technologists are also responsible for improving the nutritional value of the food and to find better ways to preserve the food for consumption.

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