What You Need To Enter the Food Safety Field

What You Need To Enter the Food Safety Field
  • Opening Intro -

    Eating products off a shelf or sharing a meal at a restaurant comes with an inherent amount of trust in each person interacting with the food we put in our bodies.

    Food safety scientists play a vital role in ensuring that the consumer’s faith is not misguided and that what we eat won’t harm us.


Here is what you need to enter the food safety field and begin a career protecting public health.

A Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree

While not every position in the food safety field requires a degree, many of the higher-paying positions do. A variety of degree programs prove useful to the area of work, including but not limited to:

  • Biology or Microbiology
  • Chemistry or Biochemistry
  • Environmental Health and Hazards
  • Food Science or Food Technology

As mentioned, other degree programs can easily apply to the industry. The food safety field casts a wide net and includes work in administration, legislative work, and even academia.

It’s important to understand all aspects of the field before deciding which area pertains most to your interests as well as your skill set.

For example, if you have effective communication and creative skills, you could fill the role with a technical writer who translates analytical results to the public.

On the other hand, the role of government inspector suits people with critical thinking skills and strong memories.

Confidence When Operating Analytical Equipment

A large part of the food safety field relies on analytical equipment, so any student entering the field must be comfortable and confident with machines.

Constant advancements in analytical technology mean that a scientist’s equipment does more of the job on its own each year. However, food safety scientists must know how to operate the system and properly understand the results.

For example, food safety science heavily relies on the results of LC/MS systems. Using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry equipment often requires familiarization training and troubleshooting knowledge.

Students interested in the field should seek lab work involving similar equipment to increase their confidence in scientific tools like these.

Patience and a Strong Stomach

Anyone entering the field of food safety needs a strong stomach. No matter if you are working with food in a lab or inspecting conditions on a meat-production farm, you are bound to encounter gross situations. The food safety field involves interacting with food, and the reality of food safety is sometimes learning others have potentially ingested dangerous substances.

Of course, as with any other technical job, those pursuing a career in food safety should also ready themselves for plenty of documentation and paperwork. Patience is also necessary for workers dealing with manufacturers, workers, and even restaurant owners who aren’t keen on safety regulations.

The last thing you need to enter the food safety field is simply a passion for what we eat. If you have a deep love for food science, aspects of agriculture, and the human connection to food, a career in food safety is right for you.

Image Credit: what you need to enter the food safety field by Adobe Stock #277934070

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Categories: Career Planning