Career focus: food safety technologist

Venezuelan dark chocolate with raspberry. Black rustica olives. Handmade apricot your stomach rumbling yet? These are just some of delicacies that surround you as you enter the Food Hall at London's world-famous Selfridges department store.

It's the sort of place that can make you hungry just by thinking about it - so how would you fancy spending every working day there?

That's what Rebecca Bassett does in her job as a food safety technologist for Selfridges. Here, we take a look into just what a food safety technologist does, and how you can get into such a role.

rebecca bassett


Rebecca's route into her current job started with a degree in food science and technology from Cardiff Metropolitan University

The BSc (Hons) qualification appealed to her because of the variety of topics it covers - as well as the number of different doors she knew it would open in terms of routes into her chosen industry.

"I’ve always wanted to work with food in some capacity – when I was very young I just wanted to cook all the time – but, as I got older, I realised my interest lay more in the science and technology side of the subject and the Cardiff Met degree synopsis suited my interests perfectly," said Rebecca.

"I was also more than aware that the chances of guaranteed employment on completion of this particular degree are extremely high – on average, around 10 available jobs per graduate which was a great encouragement!"

Rebecca began her four-year course in 2008, incorporating a degree-related placement year working as a project technician in the Product and Ingredient Innovation Department at confectionery giant, Cadbury.

"I just cannot emphasise enough what I gained from my year in industry," adds Rebecca.

"I was literally learning 'on the job' every day for that period – the first-hand knowledge that I gained also helped me raise my grades on my return to university and really crystallise the route I wanted to follow."

rebecca bassett

Following her graduation, Rebecca focused on finding employment in either her adopted city of Cardiff, or London and was tipped off about her current role at Selfridges by her former course lecturer.

"The support I gained from my lecturers – both during my studies and beyond – was just amazing and I think the fact that I actually heard about the job I’m now doing because of my Cardiff Met links is testament to this."

Rebecca is based at the Oxford Street store, where she works closely with the Selfridges buying team, making sure all products earmarked by them for the shop floor are fit for sale and comply with relevant legal requirements in terms of ingredients, labelling and packaging for example.

As part of the Food Safety team, she also monitors concessions in-store, ensuring they are up to standard, and is involved in safety audits and staff training.

"I absolutely love my job – no two days are the same and the fact that I’m working for such a well-respected brand at such an early stage in my career is just the icing on the cake!"

Find out more about Rebecca's food science and technology course at Cardiff Metropolitan University 

Under the spotlight
2008: Began BSc (Hons) Degree in Food Science and Technology at UWIC (now Cardiff Met)
2010: One-year degree related placement (taken at Cadbury as a project technician in the Product and Ingredient Innovation Department)
2012: Graduated with 2:1
2012: Began work at Selfridges as a food safety technologist