Food graders inspect, sort and grade food products. They grade food products according to sensory criteria or with the help of machinery. They determine the product’s use by grading them into the appropriate classes and discarding damaged or expired foods. Food graders measure and weigh the products and report their findings so the food can be further processed.
The following job titles also refer to food grader:
food product grader
A high school diploma is generally required to work as a food grader.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Food grader is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Food grader career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to food grader.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of food grader. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of food grader with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of food grader.
- Legislation about animal origin products: The applicable legal rules on temperature, waste materials, traceability, labelling, trading, and the transport of animal origin products.
- Food materials: Quality and range of raw materials, half finished products and end products of a specific food sector.
- Food safety principles: Scientific background of food safety which includes preparation, handling, and storage of food to minimise the risk of foodborne illness and other health hazards.
- Food legislation: Legislation related to the food and feed industry including food manufacturing, hygiene, safety, raw materials, additives, GMOs, labelling, environmental and trade regulations.
- Food science: The study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food and the scientific concepts underlying food processing and nutrition.
- Food storage: The proper conditions and methods to store food to keep it from spoiling, taking into account humidity, light, temperature and other environmental factors.
- Risks associated to physical, chemical, biological hazards in food and beverages: Interpretation of laboratory tests for parameters affecting food safety taking into account risks associated with physical, chemical, and biological hazards in food and beverages.
- Food product ingredients: Technical features of the formulation of ingredients for food products.
- Quality assurance methodologies: Quality assurance principles, standard requirements, and the set of processes and activities used for measuring, controlling and ensuring the quality of products and processes.
- Functional properties of foods: Structure, quality, nutritional value and/or acceptability of a food product. A food functional property is determined by physical, chemical and/or organoleptic properties of a food. Examples of a functional property may include solubility, absorption, water retention, frothing ability, elasticity, and absorptive capacity for fats and foreign particles.
- Food and beverage industry: The respective industry and the processes involved in the food and beverage industry, such as raw material selection, processing, packaging, and storage.
- Food preservation: Deterioration factors, controlling factors (temperature, additives, humidity, pH, water activity, etc., including packaging) and food processing methods to preserve food products.
- Processes of foods and beverages manufacturing: Raw materials and production processes for getting finished food products. Importance of quality control and other techniques for the food and beverage industry.
- Food safety standards: Food safety standards (i.e. ISO 22000) developed by the recognised organisations for Standardization dealing with food safety. For example, the ISO 22000 international standard specifies the requirements for an effective food safety management system. It covers interactive communication, system management, prerequisite programs and HACCP principles.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of food grader.
- Assess nutritional characteristics of food: Assess nutritional characteristics of food for human consumption for a better healthy diet.
- Store raw food materials: Keep in reserve raw materials and other food supplies, following stock control procedures.
- Perform sensory evaluation: Evaluate the quality of a given type of food or beverage based on its appearance, smell, taste, aroma, and others. Suggest possible improvements and comparisons with other products.
- Work independently in service of a food production process: Work individually as an important element in service of a food production process. This function is executed individually with little or no supervision or collaboration with colleagues.
- Grade foods: Sort and grade food products according to sensory criteria such as size, weight or appearance by hand or with the help of machines. Grade the foods into appropriate classes to be further processed.
- Ensure correct goods labelling: Ensure that goods are labeled with all necessary labeling information (e.g. legal, technological, hazardous and others) regarding the product. Ensure that labels respects the legal requirements and adhere to regulations.
- Perform food safety checks: Carry out food safety checks in order to assure compliance with requirements, regulations, and other good food manufacturing practices.
- Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
- Prepare visual data: Prepare charts and graphs in order to present data in a visual manner.
- Assess quality characteristics of food products: Assess quality characteristics of food products in terms of the main properties (e.g. physical, sensorial, chemical, technological, etc.) for raw materials, half-finished products, as well as finish products.
- Perform quality audits: Execute regular, systematic and documented examinations of a quality system for verifying conformity with a standard based on objective evidence such as the implementation of processes, effectiveness in achieving quality goals and reduction and elimination of quality problems.
- Work in a food processing team: Collaborate in a team with other food processing professionals in service of the food and beverages industry.
- Perform food risk analysis: Perform food risks analysis for food safety assurance.
- Keep up-to-date with regulations: Maintain up-to-date knowledge of current regulations and apply this knowledge in specific sectors.
- Manage time in food processing operations: Assure a correct management of time and resources using appropriate planning methods.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of food grader. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Advise on food preservation: Advise on ingredients, processes, and technologies that allow the preservation of food until it gets to the consumer.
- Develop standard operating procedures in the food chain: Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the food chain based on the production feedback. Understand current operating procedures and identify best techniques. Develop new procedures and update existing ones.
- Perform detailed food processing operations: Perform precise food processing operations with great attention and detail to all steps in the creation of a qualitative product.
- Identify hazards in the workplace: Perform safety audits and inspections on workplaces and workplace equipment. Ensure that they meet safety regulations and identify hazards and risks.
- Analyse samples of food and beverages: Examine if food or beverages are safe for human consumption. Verify the right levels of key ingredients and the correctness of the label declarations and the levels of nutrients present. Ensure samples of food and beverages comply to specific standards or procedures.
- Advise food processing professionals: Give advice and instruct employees active in the food processing industry about the most efficient and correct methods used in the production of food and beverages.
- Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
- Provide food labelling expertise: Provides food labelling expertise in the collaboration with government, company divisions, and other stakeholders on compliance related questions regarding products and labels.
- Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
- Follow hygienic procedures during food processing: Ensure a clean working space according to hygienic standards in the food processing industry.
- Handle communications in the food processing industry: Interact with food processing professionals to obtain correct information about their work and actions.
- Keep up with innovations in food manufacturing: Latest innovative products and technologies to process, preserve, package and improve food products.
- Measure precise food processing operations: Carry out accurately measured assignments with suitable tools and equipment in the process of producing food and beverages.
- Exert quality control to processing food: Ensure the quality of all factors involved in a food production process.
ISCO group and title
7515 – Food and beverage tasters and graders
- Food grader – ESCO