Food safety really is one of today’s major health issues, especially in this age of mass manufacture and fast food. EHPs ensure that food is prepared, handled, stored and served in a hygienic and safe way. They’re also increasingly involved in the campaign to improve the nation’s diet and nutritional awareness.
The work is extremely varied. Some is planned ahead, such as inspection of food businesses from manufacturers and butchers to retailers, restaurants and take-aways. Education plays a big part too, advising businesses and schools on food regulations and hygiene improvement.
But a lot of the work is unplanned, such as checking out food complaints, investigating cases of food poisoning or implementing hazard warnings when outbreaks occur. Investigations can be complex. Imagine, for example, a situation where guests at a wedding contract food poisoning, but don't show symptoms until they’re back home. EHPs would need to liaise with colleagues across the country, as well as with specialists in disease control and microbiology.
Food Safety EHPs are employed by local authorities but also by food businesses as advisers and other organisations as trainers and consultants. Many others have even set up their own consultancy businesses.