A food inspector is a quality assurance professional who works in a food manufacturing or agricultural environment. These professionals inspect different foods' texture, appearance and smell to ensure quality and safety before food is distributed to the public. In some cases, food inspectors prepare samples for laboratory testing. The average salary depends on the type of employer and amount of responsibilities of the food inspector.
Most manufacturing employers require a high school diploma or GED and passing a physical exam. A physical exam is required to ensure the food inspectors have the ability to lift heavy boxes, and senses such as sight and smell are acceptable to perform the responsibilities of the job. These types of employers typically offer on-the-job training. Those who work for government agencies are required to have a bachelor's degree, which includes studies related to agricultural sciences.
Manufacturing Food Inspectors
In May 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated median wages for inspectors based on the broad occupational title of inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers. Approximately 430,450 were employed in this occupation in the U.S. Median annual wages were £21,014 per year or £10.10 per hour. The 25th percentile earned £16,243 per year or £7.80 per hour. The 75th percentile earned £27,150 per year or £13.0 per hour.
Government Food Inspectors
Food inspectors who work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture often work on site at a privately-owned food manufacturing facility. These professionals ensure operations and food processing at the site are compliant with all federal laws. The salary range for food inspectors working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture is £20,354 to £32,780 per year.
Food inspectors employed by organisations other than government agencies are often referred to as agricultural inspectors. These professionals work in slaughtering and processing plants and organisations that support activities for crop production. According to the BLS those employed with slaughtering and processing plants earned annual mean wages of £22,776 as of 2009. Those employed by organisations that support activities for crop production earned annual mean wages of £23,653.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers OES,, May 2009
- United States Department of Agriculture: Food Inspector Job Description
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Agricultural Inspectors OES, May 2009