CHOOSING A CAREER / SEP. 12, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Become a Meat Hygiene Inspector

Meat hygiene inspectors monitor the activities of meat processing plants and slaughterhouses to ensure adherence to health and safety regulations. If you hold qualifications in meat and poultry inspection, and strong attention to detail skills, this could be the career for you.

The Work

Meat hygiene inspectors ensure meat is safe for human consumption. They inspect meat processes to see that they meet the legal standards.

Their duties include;

  • Visiting meat processing plants, slaughterhouses and factories to conduct inspections
  • Overseeing the disposal of unfit meat
  • Collaborating with veterinary officials to improve animal welfare
  • Keeping inspection reports
  • Suggesting improvements that can be made in the meat processing industry
  • Facilitating implementation of new legislation affecting the meat processing industry.

Work Environment

Meat hygiene inspectors work between 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. This includes work done in the evenings and during weekends.

The inspectors spend much of their time travelling between inspection sites. Hence, prospective inspectors should prepare to spend some time away from their families when inspecting sites that are not within their local area.

When working, meat hygiene inspectors wear protective gear, such as boots and overalls.

Salary

The salaries for meat hygiene inspectors vary with the level of job experience as shown below in this table;

Level of experience

 

Annual pay

Trainee inspectors

 

around £16,000

Experienced inspectors

 

£20,000 and £25,000

Senior inspectors

 

£30,000 or more.

Source: National Career Service

 

Entry Requirements

To get started as meat hygiene inspector, you will need the following qualifications;

  • Level 2 Certificate for Proficiency in Poultry Meat Inspection
  • Level 4 Diploma for Proficiency in Meat Inspection.

To pursue the qualifications you will need;

  • Five GCSEs (A-C), including English math and a science subject, or
  • Previous experience working in the meat industry

As part of the course requirements, you will be required to find and complete a work placement in a slaughterhouse or meat processing plant.

Important Skills and Abilities

To become a successful meat hygiene inspector, you should have the following competencies;

  • Vast knowledge and detailed understanding of the meat industry
  • Strong observation and analytical skills
  • Awareness of meat safety and hygiene regulations
  • The ability to be assertive and fair in your work
  • Good organization and attention to detail skills
  • Good time management skills
  • Good written and spoken communication skills.

Training and Development

Besides the training you will receive when you start working, it is important to work toward qualifications covering the following subjects;

  • Animal welfare
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pathology and meat inspection
  • Food safety and meat hygiene regulations

If you deal with wild game, you can obtain the Royal Society for Public Health’s Level 2 certificate in wild game meat hygiene.

Job Opportunities

Upon obtaining the necessary qualifications, you can look for work in;

After serving as a meat hygiene inspector for some time, you could progress to become a meat processing manager.

For more industry information, follow these links;

Finally, pursuing a career in meat inspection offers you the opportunity to improve the quality of meat people consume, while earning a decent paycheck for providing your services.

Image Source: Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE

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