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
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!