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This article provides an overview of the masters in food safety regulation degree program, some of the subject matters and courses that the degree covers, and why you may want to consider this degree for your career advancement. It also describes a high-quality masters in food safety regulation program that is available online.
What Is a Masters in Food Safety Regulation?
A masters in food safety regulation teaches students about the various complexities of federal regulations and other standards involved in the preparation and delivery of food. It focuses on ensuring that the public is kept safe and can access sanitary food products. It is quite common for restaurants to train their employees in food safety standards, which can be delivered by those who have a masters in food safety regulation. This is particularly true if they have also obtained a certification through the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP).
During the program, students learn about the various standards set in place by the U.S. Department of Health Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Courses will also focus on standard sanitation procedures, proper food display and storage, and more. The core curriculum will usually include things such as:
- Manufacturing Practices
- Food Sanitation
- Food-Borne Hazards
- Waste Disposals
- Cross-Contamination Prevention
Furthermore, some of those who finish this degree can obtain a Certified Food Safety Professional designation through the NRFSP. Many master’s degree programs, in fact, prepare students for this designation. To become certified, students must complete a number of practical hours of supervised work, as well as pass an examination. The certification is valid for a five year period, and it covers issues such as:
- Waste Disposal
- Recognizing Food-Borne Illnesses
- Storage and Display of Food Items
- Crisis Management Planning
- Pest Control and Prevention
- Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures
Other degree programs focus more strongly on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification. This enables them to prevent and identify food-borne illnesses, regardless of where they work in the overall food production and delivery chain.
Why Earn a Masters in Food Safety Regulation?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have any statistics specific to food safety regulators, classifying them instead as food service managers. The BLS has reported a median salary of $50,820 per year as of May 2016 for food service managers. However, this is for those who have a high school diploma or equivalent. Those who hold a master’s degree are more likely to take on positions of greater leadership and, therefore, to earn more as well. Hence, they can commonly be found in the top 10% of earners, who earn $87,120 per year or more. The BLS has also reported that there will be a 5% increase in demand for food service managers from 2014 to 2024, which will translate into some 15,700 new jobs.
Online Option for Masters in Food Safety Regulation
Johns Hopkins University
If you are interested in getting a masters in food safety regulation, you may want to consider the Master of Science in Food Safety Regulation program offered by the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences of Johns Hopkins University. The degree has been designed to ensure that students understand the regulatory and legal complexities of food production, distribution, and labeling. Students can work in any part of the food production chain, from growing to serving, and have an in-depth understanding of all the relevant state and federal regulatory practices.
Graduates from the degree:
- Have the critical thinking and technical skills required to understand and submit food safety regulation statutes
- Can develop, design, implement, and monitor food safety regulatory submissions
- Can evaluate and analyze existing food safety regulations, statutes, submissions, and guidance documents
The degree is offered online and requires 10 courses for completion, seven of which are core. The degree is highly flexible and students can take up to five years to finish it. It also includes real life, hands-on training through assignments and case studies. Students evaluate and research existing legally and scientifically-justifiable positions on advanced regulatory topics using different case studies and perspectives.
The degree is delivered by real-world professionals, including those employed in the food industry, the FDA, food safety professionals, and more. To be accepted to the degree program, applicants must have completed prerequisite courses in foundations of bioscience. They must also hold an undergraduate degree and have a GPA of at least 3.0.
The program is relevant and based on real-life, modern regulations, which are going through regular changes. That said, it is based on seven constant core courses, of which the content is adapted to new changes and discoveries in the field. The seven required courses are:
- Introduction to Food Safety Regulation
- Food Microbiology
- Regulation of Good Food Production Practices
- Food Labeling and Packaging Regulation
- Food Toxicology
- Risk Assessment and Management
- Food Safety Audits and Surveillance
Those who complete the degree from Johns Hopkins University have a wealth of career opportunities available to them in areas such as food transport and storage, harvesting, pest control, fertilization, methods of seed selection, and more. They will be tasked with ensuring that proper labeling and the right storage temperatures are followed, that expired food is removed from the shelves, that imported foods meet the relevant safety standards, that processing operations are sanitary, that equipment are regularly inspected, and so on.
Some of the common careers for those with this type of degree are:
- Food safety inspector
- Food safety regulatory specialist
- Health and safety officer
- Restaurant regulator
- Catering regulator
- Health and safety inspector
- Enforcement officer
- Health inspector
Most graduates find employment with various government agencies, working as inspectors or assisting food producers to ensure that all food safety regulations are adhered to.
As you can see, by completing a masters in food safety regulation, you can significantly advance your career in a variety of different fields, albeit it is generally for governmental departments. You will be seen as a knowledgeable professional who ensures food safety is maintained at all times. Sometimes, this type of work is very stressful, particularly if restaurants and catering businesses are not too pleased about seeing you coming. However, it is your work that will help to prevent people from becoming ill as a result of trusting packaging materials, labels, and various food sources. As such, you can take a great deal of personal and professional pride in the fact that you are playing a pivotal role in keeping people safe.
- Food Service Managers. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm
- Food Safety Regulation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://advanced.jhu.edu/academics/graduate-degree-programs/food-safety-regulation/
- National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nrfsp.com/