The Complete Guide to Hiring a Food Safety Manager At Your Company
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Hiring a Food Safety Manager?
If you’re in the process of hiring or interviewing Food Safety Managers, this guide is for you.
The guide is for hiring Food Safety Managers who work for food, beverage, ingredient or flavor manufacturing companies.
The hiring guide also applies to food or beverage brands that outsource or partner with contract manufacturers to produce their products.
The guide includes interview tips and strategies for assessing candidates for Food Safety Manager jobs.
There can be quite a bit of nuance with Food Safety, QA and QC titles. If you’re confused, you’re not alone!
In this guide, we provide some clarity on what Food Safety Managers are responsible for. Then we give you strategies on how to assess candidates for Food Safety Manager jobs.
What does a Food Safety Manager do?
Food Safety Managers are responsible for managing safety and regulatory standards of food products in food manufacturing facilities.
A Food Safety Manager may also manage food safety programs for brands that outsource or partner with other manufacturers who make their product.
Quality standards may fall under the oversight of a Food Safety Manager in some companies, but for the sake of this guide, we’ve isolated the focus to the Food Safety aspects of a Food Safety Manager job.
A Food Safety Manager may also work in corporate headquarters and lead any number of programs.
This is more common in larger companies with diverse product portfolios, global distribution and large and complex supply chains.
A Food Safety Manager could be narrowly focused in one of these areas:
Corporate Food Safety & Regulatory
The Corporate Food Safety Manager or Food Safety Compliance Manager could be responsible for keeping up to date on specific certifications(ex. Halal, SQF, BRC or Kosher) or schemes, regulations and protocols(HACCP, HARPC, SQF, BRC, GFSI, ISO, FSMA, Good Manufacturing Processes – GMP)
Food Safety Quality Systems
The Food Safety Quality Systems Manager could be responsible for managing quality systems or compliance applications or platforms(compliance software, food safety software, food traceability software, quality management systems)
The Supplier Quality Manager could be responsible for ensuring all suppliers adhere to their company’s food safety and quality standards.
Food Safety Training
The Food Safety Manager, whether at the corporate location or on-site, will often be responsible for training every employee on food safety best practices.
The on-site Food Safety Manager may lead training programs that are developed at the corporate level or via a 3rd party training company, or they may design the training program themselves.
The Food Safety Manager does not operate in a vacuum nor are any two Food Safety Manager jobs the same, even at the same company, when it comes to certification and compliance.
At any given time, a Food Safety Manager will be responsible for varying levels of oversight when it comes to systems, compliance and procedures. They may…
Create new systems
Update systems, procedures
Evaluate systems, procedures, policies
Audit systems, reporting, procedures, behavior
What’s the difference between a Quality Manager and a Food Safety Manager?
We have yet to find any consistency within the food industry when it comes to using Food Safety and Quality in job titles.
It’s unfortunate, because there are important distinctions.
What is the difference between safety and quality in the food industry?
Well, in simplest terms, an end product can be of poor quality but still safe for consumers to eat or drink.
When a company produces low quality products, there are consequences, but they are not the same as a company that produces unsafe products.
In fact, some companies continually produce poor quality products but still have a strong following with customers.
The same can’t be said for companies that have a history of releasing unsafe products into the market.
When it comes time to post your food safety job, interview candidates and tell them what the Food Safety Manager is all about, clarity is critical.
When you interview candidates for Food Safety Manager jobs or QA or QC jobs,they may be unclear as to what falls under the umbrella of Food Safety & Quality at YOUR company.
Chances are, it’s not the same as the company they’re coming from.
For context, here’s how some companies might differentiate what a Food Safety Manager is responsible for and what a Quality Manager might be responsible for relative to Food Safety matters.
Food Safety Manager
Plant Quality Manager
Create food safety program
Adhere to and enforce site food safety program
Manage food safety systems
Report food safety metrics in quality reports
Audit food safety programs
Report deviations in environmental monitoring reports.
Lead food safety training
Report deviations in product quality that impacts food safety.
Oversee food safety certification programs
Complies with food safety certification programs
Develop food safety policies and protocols for new product development
Works with product development and food safety to launch new products safely, effectively and efficiently.
Design and calibrate environmental monitoring program
Reports any deviations in environmental monitoring data or product quality data that impacts food safety.
Investigate deviations in environmental monitoring reports and design preventive solutions
Reinforce food safety best practices on a continual basis with each employee.
Hopefully, this guide on hiring and assessing Food Safety Managers has been helpful in clarifying what a Food Safety Manager does, the difference between a Quality Manager and a Food Safety Manager, and most importantly how to interview, assess and hire the best Food Safety Manager for your team.
If this guide to hiring to Hiring a Food Safety Manager was helpful, please SHOW YOUR THANKS BY SHARING this guide with other members of your team that recruit, interview and hire Food Safety & Quality professionals.
If you’re hiring a Food Safety Manager or any other positions in Food Safety or Quality, post your Food Safety jobs with us at FOOD SAFETY INSIDER.
Interested in using pre-hire assessment tests for your Food Safety and Quality jobs?
You can read more about some of the tools we use to help you make better, more informed food safety and quality hires here – PRE-EMPLOYMENT ASSESSMENT TESTS.
And finally, if you’re looking to work with a leading food safety and food science recruiter, contact us at Gulf Stream Search.
The Food Safety Insider is proud to be considered one of the top food safety blogs by Feedspot.