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NOC Code: NOC Code: 2222 Occupation: Agricultural and fish products inspectors
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Agricultural and fish products inspectors inspect agricultural and fish products for conformity to prescribed production, storage and transportation standards. They are employed by government departments and agencies and by private sector food processing companies. Supervisors of agricultural and fish products inspectors are also included in this group. Agricultural and fish products inspectors inspect agricultural and fish products for conformity to prescribed production, storage and transportation standards. They are employed by government departments and agencies and by private sector food processing companies. Supervisors of agricultural and fish products inspectors are also included in this group.

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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read correspondence from supervisors, co-workers, colleagues and members of the public. For example, read email from supervisors directing the closing of specified processing plants, colleagues providing second opinions on the identification of insects found in products and consumers complaining of illness from tainted products. (2)
  • Read instructions, explanations and comments on entry forms. For example, read inspection criteria on checklists, recommendations on pathology and soil analysis reports, and observations concerning clients' compliance on inspection reports. (2)
  • Read memos and notices about changes in standards, policies and procedures. For example, read memos detailing changes in procedures for the inspection of packaged mushrooms and cooked chicken, and notices of new standards for products to be exported to Europe. (3)
  • Read agricultural and food processing trade publications to learn about new products and methods for packaging, shipping and storage of products. For example, a meat inspector reads an article on gas packaging of meat to understand the process and design appropriate inspection procedures. (3)
  • Read detailed descriptions of production procedures submitted by clients. For example, fish, meat and dairy inspectors may read Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system plans and quality management program plans prepared by processing plants to determine if the plans conform to regulations. Organic inspectors read descriptions of farm and food processing operations in applications for organic certification. (3)
  • Read a variety of government legislation and certification standards. For example, read the Meat Inspection Act, Dairy Industry Act, Fish Inspection Act, Food and Drug Act, Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, and certification standards issued by agencies such as the Canadian Grain Commission, Quality Assurance International and Euregap. In some cases, compare information in domestic and international regulations and standards to assess the acceptability of products for import and export. (4)
  • Read technical bulletins and textbooks. For example, meat inspectors study government bulletins on bovine spongiform encephalopathy to be able to explain the disease to beef processors and apply appropriate detection procedures. Multi-commodity inspectors may study biological textbooks to learn about the stages of plant growth and concurrent blights and infestations. (4)
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  • Write notes to summarize inspection activities and discussions with clients. Write extensive notes to record the progress of complex inspections. Refer to these summary notes when preparing final reports. (2)
  • Write email to co-workers and colleagues. For example, write email to other inspectors to request their help in identifying pests and diseases, and to provide details about the judgments they have made. (2)
  • Enter brief comments on inspection forms. For example, write comments about the condition of products and the conformity of facilities to standards. Write orders for actions such as the fumigation of products and return of shipments to countries of origin. (2)
  • Write questions to ask clients during inspections and audits. Draft questions that will elicit information not found in documents such as applications and previous inspection reports. (2)
  • Correspond with members of the public. For example, write to consumers who file complaints about unsafe food products to explain investigations that have been undertaken and conclusions drawn. (2)
  • Write letters and short reports on a variety of matters. For example, a fruit and vegetable inspector writes a letter to a European certification agency offering criticism of proposed changes to the fee structure of inspections and audits. A meat inspector writes a report to agency managers describing trends in non-compliance that warrant general corrective action. (3)
  • Write longer inspection reports that describe inspection and audit activities carried out, areas of non-compliance identified, corrective actions recommended and justification of decisions made. To prepare these reports refer to extensive personal notes, analyze information in documents provided by clients and synthesize information written by other inspectors. Submit the reports to superiors, certification agency review boards and clients. (4)
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Document Use
  • Scan product labels for information such as ingredients, weights and nutritional data. (1)
  • Observe directional and hazard signs at facilities such as food terminals, ship docks, abattoirs, fish plants, orchards and dairy farms. (1)
  • Locate data in lists and complex tables. For example, when grading products, a fruit and vegetable inspector refers to a table of product characteristics including size, ripeness and defects such as bruising, mildew and injury from insects. A milk inspector reviews a table of lab analysis results on samples from each of several hundred cows to determine the source of a high bacteria count in milk from the herd. (2)
  • Locate data in a variety of entry forms. For example, review clients' production schedules, bills of lading, sales reports, cleaning and pesticide spraying records, and process recipes to locate specific data needed for inspections. (2)
  • Complete a variety of reports, production records and certification forms. For example, complete inspection checklists and audit reports. Complete invoices for inspection services and enter data for samples in lab submission forms. In the course of processing food product shipments, issue notices of quarantine, detention, and release from detention and phytosanitary and export certificates as appropriate. (2)
  • Interpret graphs describing various aspects of food production and plant protection processes. For example, examine graphs to check the durations and temperatures of processes such as milk pasteurization, fish canning and plant fumigation. (3)
  • Locate data in maps and floor plans. For example, use maps of farms and floor plans of processing facilities to determine the locations and sizes of crop sections, pesticide buffer zones, animal pens and food storage areas. (3)
  • Identify processing stages, pieces of equipment and process flows in schematics of processing operations. For example, inspectors of processed foods may interpret schematics which illustrate the equipment and procedures for receiving, cleaning, cooking, packing, storing and shipping all ingredients and final products. (4)
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Digital Technology
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, use computer weigh scale systems to monitor the weight of grain loaded into rail cars. (1)
  • Use word processing. For example, write letters and reports using basic text editing and page formatting functions. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, use email to communicate with co-workers, colleagues, clients and technical experts about subjects such as inspection schedules and identification of product conditions. Attach zip files, digital photographs and other data files. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, prepare slide presentations for staff training sessions using presentation software such as PowerPoint. Scan photographs of insects and product defects when seeking advice on pest and disease identification. (2)
  • Use hardware and system skills. For example, self-employed inspectors may install and set up virus and spyware control applications and other software on business computers. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, search food industry and government websites for technical and regulatory information. Use search engines such as Google to find the locations of inspection sites. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, log daily activities in measurement reports and record measurements and production data in pre-existing spreadsheets. Design spreadsheets for recording income and expenses, maintaining client lists, developing sampling plans and work schedules. Use spreadsheets to analyze performance data and generate graphs. (3)
  • Use databases. For example, use a variety of databases to file inspection reports and expense claims, search for policy and procedural information and log actions taken. Create databases for managing clients' contact information and query databases for specific inspection information such as numbers of animals infected at various sites. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Interact with clients and their staff and suppliers about operational matters. For example, ask clients' staff to lay out shipments for inspection and arrange for services such as the cleaning of grain and recalibration of thermocouples. (1)
  • Respond to queries from clients and members of the public about topics such as food safety and food processing regulations. For example, explain regulations governing the importation of products to clients. In some cases, warn members of the public about beaches affected by shellfish poisoning. (2)
  • Discuss ongoing work with co-workers, colleagues and supervisors. For example, discuss the distribution of daily and weekly inspection assignments with co-workers, and exchange information about problem files with supervisors. Discuss inspection procedures for unusual products, and inconsistencies in inspection results with colleagues in a variety of agencies and organizations. (2)
  • Solicit and negotiate inspection contracts. For example, self-employed inspectors contact inspection agencies and potential clients to promote their services and negotiate fees and timelines. (3)
  • Instruct co-workers when leading team inspections, resolving conflicts between clients and inspection staff and managing crises such as outbreaks of plant diseases. For example, a dairy inspector reviews sampling procedures with staff in response to clients' complaints that unsanitary sampling is causing high bacteria counts in their milk. A plant protection inspector explains the procedures for fumigating infested plants to inspection staff. (3)
  • Interview clients and staff to gather information for assessing conformity with standards. Ask open-ended questions and probe for specific details about the clients' products and processes. Use tactful and skilful interrogation to elicit information from confused and evasive interviewees. (3)
  • Present inspection and audit results to clients and supervisors. Describe inspection procedures, present findings and justify recommendations and decisions. In some cases, explain the technical and regulatory reasons for controversial decisions to angry audiences. (3)
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Money Math
  • Handle cash. For example, pay for transportation, meals and accommodation when performing inspections. Collect licensing inspection fees from clients. (1)
  • Calculate invoice amounts of inspection services. Charge for inspections using flat fees and hourly rates, calculate travel expenses using per kilometre rates, applicable taxes and total amounts. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Plan personal work schedules to carry out assigned inspections. In some cases, schedule inspections in several cities on one trip, planning travel and appointments according to the availability of clients and the times when various production stages are in progress. (2)
  • Plan staff and inspection schedules for the ongoing inspection of facilities and management of crises. For example, inspectors who are supervisors and team leaders schedule workers' shifts to achieve regulated inspection frequencies and durations at sites such as some meat and dairy plants, and to conduct inspections of plants that have been found to be nonconforming. They also calculate staff requirements to carry out emergency tasks such as overseeing the quarantine and fumigation of large quantities of product. (3)
  • Develop and manage operational and project budgets. For example, develop budgets for special inspection programs needed to counter specific health threats such as outbreaks of paralytic shellfish poisoning and sudden oak death. Self-employed inspectors may do their own business planning and allocate money to capital costs, operating expenses and office supplies. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure a variety of product and facility characteristics. For example, use tapes to measure the sizes of rooms and animal organs, scales to weigh the contents of packaged foods and thermometers to measure temperatures in various parts of storage facilities. (1)
  • Calculate gross, tare and net weights and percentages of contents by weight. For example, calculate the weight of commodities in trucks by subtracting the weights of empty trucks from the weights of the trucks when loaded. Calculate the percentage of water in chickens by weighing them before and after air chilling, and the percentage of glaze on shrimps by weighing them before and after rinsing. (2)
  • Take precise measurements using specialized instruments. For example, dairy inspectors use test kits to measure acidity levels in milk. Fruit inspectors use area aggregate gauges to calculate the extent of damage to fruit. (3)
  • Describe key features of products, shipments, production facilities and equipment mathematically. For example, calculate total weights of food shipments, numbers of boxes per skid and volumes of containers. Calculate the areas of animal pens and total distances of production lines. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare measurements and lab test results with data on labels and in regulations to identify nonconformity. For example, a poultry inspector checks for consistency between the actual weight and nutritional content of foods and data on package labels. A fish inspector checks the sizes of equipment parts against specifications in regulated quality management plans. A dairy inspector checks measurements of processing critical control points for conformity with specifications in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plans. (1)
  • Verify data in clients' production documents. For example, an organic inspector verifies data in a food processor's receipts, bills of lading, processing recipes and production and sales reports to determine if they substantiate the organic integrity of products. (2)
  • Collect and analyze production data to describe inspection and food processing activities. For example, meat inspectors may calculate quarterly averages of the numbers of animals processed at plants, numbers of occurrences of animal diseases and injuries and the numbers of inspections completed per region. (3)
  • Determine the sample size required to assess the quality of commodities and processes. For example, determine the minimum number of farms in a group to audit by applying specified formulae. Adjust the sampling size by considering factors such as the number of workers and variation in work practices on the farms. Compare periodic bacteria counts and chemical residue levels to check for improvement and to detect trends in nonconformity. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate a variety of quantitative factors to assess conformity with inspection criteria. For example, estimate the percentage of discoloured grapes in containers by visual examination, and the distances between pesticide storage areas and water courses by counting paces. (1)
  • Estimate the times required to carry out inspections. Review information on the types and locations of inspections and draw on previous experience. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Agricultural and fish products inspectors organize their job tasks to carry out scheduled inspections. Some inspectors carry out regular inspections of one commodity at one facility, while others inspect varied commodities and visit many facilities. Inspectors adjust their daily schedules to accommodate emergencies such as disease outbreaks. Inspectors may participate in developing operational policies and practices. For example, they may take part in committees to plan national training initiatives and set certification agencies' inspection fees. Inspectors who are supervisors and team leaders coordinate and monitor the work of other inspectors and seasonal crews. For example, they may assign tasks to other inspectors during team audits of large plants and coordinate summer student crews in the gathering of contaminated products. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Assign tasks to co-workers. For example, a poultry inspector who is a team leader decides to take several inspectors to inspect a facility that is processing a large number of chickens. The inspector considers existing work loads and differences in workers' abilities before assigning inspection tasks. (2)
  • Select specific products and processes for inspections. For example, in large processing plants that produce many products, inspectors may conduct complete audits on products that use the most organic ingredients and that are the best sellers. A fish inspector may audit specific elements of a plant's processes based on a review of the plant's quality management plan. (2)
  • Decide to bid on particular jobs. For example, self-employed inspectors consider the locations of inspection jobs, the time and expenses required and fees offered before taking on new inspection jobs. (2)
  • Decide to seek laboratory tests and other technical advice when uncertain of products' safety. For example, meat inspectors decide to consult veterinarians and order testing of carcass samples to check their observations of disease. They balance the dangers of not catching harmful conditions against the costs of unnecessary testing and plant closures. (3)
  • Order enforcement actions such as the fining of clients, closure of plants and the detention, quarantine, treatment, destruction, recall and re-export of commodities. Justify these enforcement actions by providing objective evidence of nonconformity and citing specific regulations and standards contravened. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Inspect new and unfamiliar products and encounter product conditions that are difficult to identify. For example, inspect imported novelty items that contain unspecified ingredients, and products with defects and infestations that are not covered in identification tables. To ascertain the products' conformity with standards, consult co-workers and technical experts and search for information on the Internet and in textbooks. (2)
  • Clients are unavailable and unprepared for scheduled inspections. Arrange to interview alternates, reorder inspection tasks to allow clients time to prepare and suspend and reschedule inspections if necessary. In some cases, charge clients for inspection time and expenses. (2)
  • Detect inaccuracies and possible fraud in product labels and other documents. Increase sizes of samples, ask for clarification and correction of information in documents and send samples for lab analysis as appropriate. For example, a fish inspector suspects that a shipment of fish products includes skate wings cut to look like scallops. The inspector may seize the shipment for further investigation. (3)
  • Face angry clients who challenge negative inspection results such as the closing of plants, detention of shipments and loss of certifications. Describe the areas of nonconformity, refer clients to the specific regulations and standards contravened and explain the steps clients can take to have orders lifted. To diffuse clients' anger and promote cooperation, help them to develop ways to meet regulated requirements. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about unfamiliar products and abnormalities. Consult textbooks, websites, co-workers, colleagues technical experts such as botanists, veterinarians and food scientists and images such as x-rays of animal carcasses and microscope photographs of plant cells. For example, an inspector may search for information on the ingredients and processing methods of smoked duck and thousand-year-old eggs from China. (2)
  • Find background information about clients' businesses in order to prepare for inspections and audits. Examine documents provided by clients, look at past inspection and infraction reports and speak with co-workers who are familiar with the clients. (2)
  • Find information about food storage and processing operations. Examine documents, take measurements, carry out inspections and talk to clients, workers, sub-contractors and suppliers. For example, a fruit inspector looks for evidence in shipping documents and production records when investigating possible fraud. A dairy inspector questions farmers, equipment washers and milk truck drivers about their procedures and reviews lab tests on milk samples from each of several hundred cows to trace the sources of contamination. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of work plans. For example, evaluate the effectiveness of recall efforts by exchanging information with producers, retailers and personnel at various government agencies and by analyzing data on products distributed and retrieved. (2)
  • Judge the honesty of clients. For example, judge the truthfulness of clients' statements about providing safety training to their workers by reviewing records of training activity and questioning workers on their safety knowledge. (2)
  • Grade and assess the quality of products. Measure and conduct sensory examinations of products to assign grades according to specified criteria and to determine if products meet regulated standards. For example, grade grains, fruits and vegetables according to criteria for characteristics such as size, colour, firmness and a wide range of defects. Assess if products to be exported meet the standards of receiving countries. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality of production processes and assess their conformity with applicable regulations and standards. Gather information about production processes by taking measurements, reading lab analysis results, examining production records, conducting inspections and interviewing clients and staff. Analyze the data gathered to ensure that government regulations for plant, animal, and consumer safety have been followed. For example, audit farms and meat, fish and dairy processing plants to assess if their production procedures are in conformity with government regulations, certification standards and approved quality management program plans. (3)
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