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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 393F
Category: Protective Services

Class Series Concept

Responsible for enforcing and maintaining the federally approved food safety system program which must meet the authorizing statute. This program includes maintaining enforcement, consultation, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. This professional level series assists the food industry in the development, implementation, and maintenance of food safety control plans, to prevent or significantly minimize food safety hazards and intentional contamination by ensuring food producers comply with food safety standards, rules, and regulations for public consumption and/or animal feed.


Within an assigned geographical area, positions work under the general supervision of a unit supervisor and are responsible for assisting the industry with the development, implementation, and maintenance of food safety preventive control plans to prevent or significantly minimize food safety hazards and intentional contamination. Assists with and ensures compliance with the various state and federal licensing requirements for facility design, processing, sanitation, and product labeling. Provides technical assistance to the industry. Interacts with and advises the public, industry personnel, and other government officials on public health issues with regard to food safety.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Incumbents work under general supervision of a unit supervisor and independently regulate and apply established procedures to conduct detailed inspections and field investigations; evaluate preventive controls in human or animal food and dairy production or the harvesting and handling of fruits and vegetables; Conducts food safety hazard analysis, compliance inspections and simple to complex investigations of commercial establishments and determines whether producers are complying with Federal and State food safety standards, rules and regulations.

Positions are distinguished from the Food and Safety Compliance Specialist 3 in that assignments are typically routine in nature and positions follow clearly defined work procedures, formats, and priorities. Work is reviewed for accuracy, completion, and adherence to instructions and established standards.

Typical Work

Conducts food safety hazard analysis, compliance inspections and simple to complex investigations of commercial establishments and determines whether producers are complying with food safety standards, rules and regulations as established by Federal, State and local laws;

Conducts detailed public health food safety monitoring and compliance inspections, Federal Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point inspections, investigations, and/or surveillance of commercial establishments that manufacture, process, hold or transport food products intended for public and/or animal consumption. Initiates corrective and enforcement action at the site as needed;

Conducts analysis of the safety of food production environment and inspection of final product in such specialized areas as acidified foods, low acid canned foods, seafood, juice, custom meat, custom slaughter, slaughter trucks, shell egg, cottage food and direct seller, cannabis, and animal feed;

Performs inspections of Grade ‘"A’" farms and plants and manufactured dairy to determine initial and continued compliance with all dairy laws; issuance or renewal of permits; reviews animal health test records; and conducts surveys and sampling of water sources and supplies to ensure purity;

Conducts review and approval of construction plans for new buildings, remodeling, or addition of new equipment to ensure compliance with science-based mitigation strategies to avoid intentional contamination and eliminate or significantly minimize hazards;

Conducts specialized inspections of food processing plants, food storage warehouses, poultry and rabbit processors, beverage plants, and fish and shellfish canneries and processing plants; performs field investigations of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables at canneries and packing plants;

Prepares complex, customized reports and findings in accordance with FDA requirements and standards, collects samples for testing and documents results to support reports; prepares cases to be brought before the Director of Agriculture, for formal hearing and revocation or suspension of license; appears in court or administrative hearings as a witness in cases of noncompliance;

Independently performs field investigations of consumer complaints and takes appropriate action to correct improper conditions; provides technical assistance to consulting firms, municipal officials, industrial plant personnel, and other local government personnel on problems and practices affecting sanitation in the dairy and food industry;

Coordinates inspection and enforcement work with that of other Federal, State, and local officials; attends meetings and seminars pertinent to the dairy and food industry and acts as a technical consultant or expert at said meetings;

Prepares summaries of activities for monthly and biennial reports as needed;

Provides expert-witness testimony as needed;

May assist supervisors in the direction of trainees;

Performs other duties as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: theory, principles and practices of food safety, sanitation enforcement, dairy and/or food technology, Federal, State, and local laws and regulations concerning manufacturing, processing, storage, handling and sale of fresh and processed food and dairy products.

Ability to: apply and enforce laws and regulations, using maturity and judgment, as well as the power of the law; understand and interpret written and oral directions and specifications; deal tactfully with the public, government, and industrial officials; prepare written reports and make oral presentations; consult with and advise plant owners and personnel on design and operation of plants and farms to comply with sanitation requirements, laws and regulations; work independently with a minimum of direction from a higher level compliance specialist; travel frequently and for extended periods; traverse uneven or steep terrain in rural environments and climb ladders in industrial manufacturing warehouses.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Persons legally authorized to work in the U.S. under federal law, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, are eligible for employment unless prohibited by other state or federal law.

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor's degree involving major study in business, microbiology, food science, food technology, biochemistry, dairy science, or a natural science in a closely allied field.


One year of professional experience in a public health regulatory food manufacturing environment.

Additional experience may substitute for education on a year for year basis.

Class Specification History

Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, minimum qualifications and general revision: 6-15-79
Revised definition, minimum qualifications, deleted distinguishing characteristics: 3-15-85
Revised definition, minimum qualifications, title change (formerly Sanitarian 2): 9-14-90
Revised definition and minimum qualifications: 10-15-99
New class code: (formerly 62120) effective July 1, 2007
Revised salary range, definition, typical work, and title change; adopted June 30, 2017, effective July 1, 2017; previously Food Safety Officer 2, previously range 50.
Updated to remove the word "marijuana" and include the word "cannabis", effective July 1, 2022.
Added class series concept, revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work, knowledge and abilities, desirable qualifications, adopted June 22, 2023, effective July 1, 2023.

Revised Legal Requirements; effective June 6, 2024, due to adopted legislative action.