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Agricultural Inspector

Gather data from farms and produce reports on food safety and quality.

What does an Agricultural Inspector do?

An Agricultural Inspector is charged with ensuring the safety of our food and drink supply. They make on-site visits, investigate animal treatment, and analyze processing facilities.

This is not a desk job. Although they produce reports using the information they gather in the field, most of Agricultural Inspectors’ days are spent on farms and in production facilities. If you’re an Agricultural Inspector, you ask Farmers about the processes they use when handling common food-producing animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens. Since anything these animals ingest affects the quality and safety of their meat or products (such as eggs or milk), you record every antibiotic, growth hormone, and piece of grain they take in.

You ensure that the animals are cared for in a sanitary fashion, and that the processes meet local, state, and federal guidelines. If they don’t, you report violations.

In farm and other production facilities, you inspect machines and equipment. You also regularly send samples from each facility to Food Scientists at food analysis labs. The lab sends back results, which may alert you to a problem. For example, you might find unhealthy levels of bacteria in a carrot sample.

In addition to the machines and processed products, you also evaluate packaging and shipping techniques. You examine storage containers, and inspect refrigeration systems in the production, warehouse, and trucking facilities. Along the way, you keep careful records, maintain inspection schedules, and continually update your knowledge of regulations.