Becoming a Food Safety Auditor: Training, Certification & Courses

Find out more about working in the field of food safety. See what it takes to become a food safety auditor, including details on available training courses and certification. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At A Glance

Food safety auditors are responsible for ensuring that food outlets and agricultural centers are following acceptable practices and standards to deliver healthy products. The role requires attention to detail while carrying out full audits using procedures and regulations learned in training to conclude the overall standard of an outlet. You can find more details about this career in the following table.

Degree Required Associate's degree; bachelor's may be preferred
Education Field of Study Food or agricultural science, biology, chemistry
Certification or Licensure Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Food Safety Certification available
Training Required On-the-job training
Key Skills Active listening, critical thinking, speaking, attention to detail
Job Growth (2016-2026) 6% (for all agricultural and food science technicians)*
Median Salary (2017) $39,910 (for all agricultural and food science technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Is A Food Safety Auditor?

A food safety auditor may work with a wide range of food outlets to ensure the safety of their processes. They might assess food systems of growers, food processors, distribution centers, packaging centers, and food retail outlets for safety. This role requires using a set standard of rules, which are recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), to examine the extent to which food safety practices are being implemented by an organization. A food safety auditor may have to use graphs, reports or charts to compile and present their work findings.

What Training Do I Need For This Role?

Upon graduation, you can take a third-party certification, which covers the globally used HACCP safety guidance. These programs are recognized by the GFSI or ANSI (American National Standards Institute), along with food retailers and organizations worldwide. There are a range of courses in the U.S which embed these set standards and regulations, which can then lead to a role as a food safety auditor. On-the-job training in this role may cover areas such as food production techniques along with food hygiene and sanitation procedures.

What Courses Are Available In The U.S?

In the U.S, several organizations offer HACCP accredited courses to graduates or those looking for professional development opportunities. The ANSI, NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) and ASQ (American Society for Quality) all offer food auditing courses and exams to ensure that you are ready for the role of an auditor. In addition, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) sometimes offers grants and scholarships to new graduates who are looking into this field of work.

What Personal Skills Should I Have?

Working in this role requires several personal skills. You should be an active listener at all times throughout an audit, ensuring that you are able to listen and consider reasons and ideas for decisions which are made. It is also important to have critical thinking skills and attention to detail while in the working environment. Being able to understand how and why decisions have been made, along with the ability to think of ways to rectify unsatisfactory situations, is an important part of the role. Food safety auditors may also be required to show good speaking skills, as they will assess a wide range of food-based organizations and have to convey their findings.

What Environment Will I Work In?

You will typically work in a range of different food-based environments, working closely with those at a particular company until the audit is finished. It is usually expected for food safety auditors to assess workplaces along the entire chain of food production, from growing to retail. Many people in this role work indoors, in an environmentally controlled environment, and it is not uncommon to wear safety equipment in this line of work.

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