Food quality assurance specialists develop policies and strategies to help food items meet regulatory standards in the manufacturing industries. Failure to adhere to safety specifications could result in harmful products being released on the market, which may hurt consumers and attract severe penalties from the government. For this reason, most modern food companies have a quality assurance department.
With an average annual salary of over $60,000, many people want to get into this profession. The icing on the cake is that the career is expected to grow by 6% by 2028. However, it is easy to find a job as a food quality control specialist; you must possess certain skills to accomplish your responsibilities.
For this reason, we have collaborated with experts from job aggregator Jooble to enlighten you on everything you need to know about this career path, including the responsibilities and what it entails to delve into it.
Requirements to Become a Food Quality Control Specialist
If you’re interested in becoming a food quality technician, you must work towards it. There are some basic things you must possess to thrive in this profession. For instance, it is mandatory to know about food quality, food safety, microbiology, and chemistry. Also, it will help if you have experience with regulations, auditors, labeling, sanitation, and quality management systems.
Below are the requirements to become a certified food control specialist:
The basic educational requirement for being a food quality assurance specialist is a Bachelor’s degree. You need a bachelor’s degree in Food Science, Microbiology, Chemical Engineering, or related courses. To lay a background for your university education, you should focus on mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Agricultural Science in high school. You can also consider a Master’s degree as you advance in your career.
The skills needed to become a food quality assurance specialist include leadership, coordination, organizational, and communication skills. You also need technical skills like database management, SQF, QA, Quality Systems, etc.
This career path requires you to have work experience before being certified. You can explore entry-level jobs in food quality assurance, such as quality technician, quality auditor, quality coordinator, and junior quality assurance tester. There are also intermediate positions like quality control supervisors, quality analysts, and quality engineers.
However, Quality control managers, quality control specialists, and directors of quality are all on the top of the ladder, earning way more than others and needing years of experience to get the jobs.
Responsibilities of a Food Quality Assurance Specialist
A food quality assurance specialist’s duties start from sourcing raw materials until the food product is ready for consumption. They ensure that the raw materials used for production are up to standard; the production process is excellent; the packaging and transportation are flawless, and that retail sellers are armed with information to make the products get to the consumers in optimal condition.
Below are the major responsibilities of a food quality assurance specialist:
Ensure the Quality of Raw Materials
The job of a food quality assurance specialist starts here. The quality of the raw materials used in producing a particular product will tell on the end product. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that quality and healthy materials are used.
Food Quality assurance officers examine the available raw materials and vet them for use. They also recommend better raw materials options for production.
Ensure Quality in the Production Process
The process tells a lot about the product. After using good materials for production, it is also crucial that the production process is clean and healthy. The food quality assurance specialist is responsible for devising clean and healthy processes for production. They also supervise the production process and ensure everything is done according to the required standard.
Carry Out Tests and Experiments
Another duty of a food quality control officer is testing and experimenting. They test and experiment on procedures and processes. They check out for the lapses in current procedures and devise how to correct them. They also work on improvement and experiment to determine a better method.
Prepare Reports and Keep Records
After doing tests and experiments, the food quality assurance specialists then go ahead to prepare the reports of these tests. They draw inferences and prepare graphs, charts, and other forms of illustration to represent their findings. They, in turn, create a report from this to be submitted to the necessary departments that can implement their findings.
Also, they keep records of all the tests and experiments done for future purposes. They also maintain corporate and quality annual and seasonal records.
Sampling and Identification
You should not be shocked if you see a food quality assurance officer in the market buying some of their products anonymously. Their jobs do not end in the company. It goes as far as finding out the reception to their products and how the products are doing in the market. This is quite different from what the marketing team has to do to know the best way to market the product. Instead, a food quality assurance officer will check if there are no leakages or damage to the packaging after being transported. They will also like to know if the products still do well after being taken out of the controlled environment in the company to the not-so-predictable condition outside.
Arrange and Coordinate External Auditing
All food companies go through external auditing. It is the duty of the food quality control officer working with the company to organize this and ensure it goes well. This will include preparing for the auditors and getting all the necessary documents ready. Even if the auditing visit is sudden, the food quality assurance specialist has to ensure that the company is always prepared.
Quality Assurance is a significant part of production. It helps ensure that the products reaching consumers are of the best quality. It also helps companies avoid sanctions and give out a great product.
Food quality assurance specialists are even more important. They help make sure that companies only push out quality food products. This, in turn, helps prevent food poisoning and reduce illnesses caused by consuming substandard food.