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What should I study and practice to become a Food Safety Consultant?

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#1 teo


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Posted 06 April 2020 - 01:42 AM

Hi there, I am currently a lecturer in food technology. I want to narrow my field into food safety and to become a food safety consultant in future. 

Does any one suggest what I should study and practice to get knowledge and experience in this sector


Thank you in advance

#2 zanorias


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Posted 06 April 2020 - 05:30 AM

Hi teo and welcome to the forum :welcome:


Regarding your question in terms of training/courses, I suppose it depends which area of consultancy you are looking to go into? I.e. BRC implementation, or HACCP and food safety for small businesses.


If you're looking to consult for manufacturers, one commonality that I imagine would be hugely beneficial for all consultants would be industry experiance - if I wanted to hire a consultant to help set up our BRC I'd ideally look for someone who has decent experiance within food manufacturing i.e. technical manager for x years and even better if they have then been an external BRC auditor because they will be able to see all sides of the picture.


I'm relatively new to the industry and these are my two cents, but I know we have several very experianced folk here and at least one experianced consultant who can hopefully share their advice also.

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#3 pHruit


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Posted 06 April 2020 - 08:27 AM

Welcome to the forum :welcome:

Your academic background will probably help in a lot of areas, but you may want to augment that with some specific courses depending on whether there are any significant gaps in your knowledge. HACCP would be a key one to consider as it is required (in some form at least) by all of the major certification standards.

I agree with Zanorias that the main thing I'd want to see with a consultant is experience of having done it themselves, so possibly also look at a transition from the current role into e.g. QA/technical positions at food manufacturers, to get some more hands-on experience.

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#4 The Food Scientist

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:18 PM

As a Food Technology lecturer, you are in the academic side. Which gives you the knowledge about the different food products. You need exposure into Food Safety. Food Manufacturing, Food Service...etc. Knowing you have knowledge in HACCP, get yourself certified in it if you did not yet. Once you get exposure in Food Safety, you will gain that experience and knowledge. You will also have the knowledge and experience in GFSI schemes as well. Being a consultant requires years of experience and knowledge. And before that you can do auditing (through auditing courses, training and experience) so that people who ask you to consult for them have the confidence you are competent to consult them in Food Safety.  


I am also trying to pave my way into becoming a consultant myself. Having earned my degree in Food Science, I was able to be knowledgeable about the science of food. I worked onto getting in the Food Safety world, specifically into SQF. A while back, after having a little experience in it, a small sized company found me on a job search website where I had my resume, and asked me to help them obtaining their SQF certification from version 7.2 to 8.  I hesitated but went for it and they got excellent scores in both their sites. I did not think I could do it but I did. It made me realize I may want to consider it! Now currently doing my Food Safety & Quality Auditor certification through ASQ, and trying to find opportunities like the one I had. I felt like an auditor and a consultant at the same time and it was awesome. So that is definitely what I want to do. Not to mention this forum is giving me so much knowledge :)  Hope it helps, GOOD LUCK! 

Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.

#5 SQFconsultant



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Posted 10 April 2020 - 08:01 PM

Hi there, I am currently a lecturer in food technology. I want to narrow my field into food safety and to become a food safety consultant in future. 

Does any one suggest what I should study and practice to get knowledge and experience in this sector


Thank you in advance


Hi teo!


Prior to becoming an SQF Consultant I worked as a food safety auditor on an employed basis and then on a contract basis.

Prior to that I worked in related fields as a food safety inspector for a number of the major retailers and big box warehouse stores in the US and spent a bit of years inspecting and providing consulting to restaurants and hotels as a hotel/restaurant quality assurance inspector - my background from about the age of 6 to 30 or so was working thru the ranks in restaurants to the eventual position as a roundsman chef with Hilton International.


Everything pretty much lent itself well to consulting for SQF.


I don't believe it is a matter of taking some courses and then sliding into a consulting business.


If someone came to me now and said I want to be a consultant - tell me what to do - this is what I would say ---


1. Be absolutely sure this is what you want to do - I once wanted to be an independent owner operator and drive a big rig for Red Ball Express, then I snapped back after talking with owner operators.

2. I'd consider working either first in food manufacturing or at the very least seeing if a company will allow you to shadow some of their personnel as they go about their days.

3. Next I'd see if I could get a position with a food safety auditing company - maybe one that will take on an appentice, or will train you.

4. I would ask an auditing company or an auditor for that matter if they would allow you to shadow them for a while - understanding the auditing process over various sectors will prove to be invaluable.

5. I would seek out a consultant specific to the sector (food, food packaging, logistics, etc.) that you want to be in and see if you can shadow them for a while.

6. There is a tremendous edge for consultants that have a background in auditing the different sectors - as a consultant I am able to advise my clients for instance a lot better with the knowledge of knowing ecxactly how an audtor actually thinks, sees their operation and what hot buttons there may be.

7. Study and course are good of course - real world is substanitally better so these courses are the ones I would suggest..

8. Your standards such as: HACCP, FSMA/PCQI, FSVP, Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMOVACCP, TACCP, etc (depending on area you want to go) but also courses such as Business, Psychology (THIS IS A BIG ONE), Conflict Control, Self-Defense, Time Management, etc.


I have seen courses offered by colleges, etc on how to be a consultant - I just don't know how that works, all I know is that if you have a really good background in various things that are related to food and can blend them together, take the needed specialized courses that you need and most certainly and at minimum shadow at food companies, consultants and auditors you should have the makings of a good base to get moving - it is however on-going, staying up to speed, having contacts to inter-exchange information with , etc.


It can be a rough business to be in sometimes, but one of the best rewards that I can think of is helping to turn-around a food business, be with them thru bad times and good times and watch them excel... and then step back and say to yourself - I helped them to do that.


Also, be sure to take a course in radical marketing, do what others won't do.


I hope that helps and best to you!

Kind regards,


Glenn Oster
GOC GROUP / +1.800.793.7042 / Food - Food Packaging - Food Storage/DC

SQF, BRC & IFS System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants

Serving Small-to-Mid-Size Businesses | International Cross-Border C-CUR Acceptance

Internal Auditor Training | eConsultant | SQF, BRC & IFS Pre-Development or Pre-Audit GAP

http://www.GlennOsterConsulting.com  -- 



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