Smithfield Foods

  • Microbiologist

    Job Locations
    Food Safety/Quality Assurance
    FLSA Status
    1st Shift
  • Overview

    The position summary states the general nature and purpose of the job.  Overall accountabilities are defined in this section.


    The Microbiologist is accountable for accurate and timely microbiological analysis of various meat products and environmental samples. This position may be asked to do “method validation”. The microbiologist is accountable to ensure any and all testing time requirements or constraints are met.


    Tuesday through Saturday work schedule.


    Responsibilities and tasks are written as follows:


    Pathogen Testing

    • Conducts accurate pathogen testing of products and environmental samples, as an internal validation that the plant’s food safety system is working and producing wholesome products.
    • Performs representative tests including: Listeria testing program; Salmonella testing program; -E. Coli 0157:H7 testing Staph aureus; and Enterotoxin testing. 
      • Note: Some of the microbiology testing has very defined time requirements or constraints, some tests have very defined time limits for sample enrichment, incubation, boiling and contact time with the conjugate.
      • Completes testing within the time limits defined in the procedure once the testing has started, in order to avoid invalid testing. 

     Shelf Life Testing

    • Evaluates and determines the length of time in which products can be stored under refrigerated conditions and maintain product quality and wholesomeness, by testing meat and poultry products.
    • Samples products on five different dates based on the expected target shelf life date. Testing includes sensory and microbiological analysis.

    Product, Environmental, and Equipment Microbial Baselines

    • By testing, determines and establishes microbial baselines for raw and finished products, processing equipment and the manufacturing environment.
    • Uses baselines to determine if testing results are considered normal or high etc.
    • Performs various microbiological testing on regular basis – covering all types of products, equipment and the manufacturing environment.

    Research and Development Testing Preparation

    • Conducts testing preparation work, to include making media and buffers etc.
    • Provides microbiological data of all ingredients and new products under development for ingredient and R+D testing.

    The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. May perform other duties as assigned.


    To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform the essential functions. 

    • Bachelor’s degree (B.S.) from a regionally accredited four-year college or university in Microbiology or a science related field and 2+ years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
    • Knowledge of various pathogens and microbes associated with food production.
    • Hands on experience conducting microbiological testing of meat and poultry products.
    • Working knowledge of HAACP principles.
    • Knowledge of laboratory safety.
    • Ability to use a variety of basic laboratory equipment.
    • Knowledge of Database software; Internet software; Spreadsheet software and Word Processing software.
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
    • Must be able to travel on an occasional basis.

    Supervisory Responsibilities

    • If the laboratory has a Lab Technician and the Microbiologist is the senior position in the lab, the microbiologist is responsible and accountable for the training of the lab technician. This includes ensuring proper training using the methods and procedures provided in Smithfield’s laboratory manual.
    • If the Microbiologist is the senior position in the laboratory, this position is accountable for the testing accuracy of the lab technician.

    Physical Demands

    The physical demands described here are representative of those an employee should possess to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

    • Regularly required to stand; sit; walk; use hands to handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; talk or hear and smell.
    • Frequently required to lift up to 25 pounds. Occasionally required to lift up to 50 pounds.
    • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.

    Work Environment

    The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

    • Office and laboratory setting. The laboratory environment will include wet or humid conditions (non-weather related), extreme cold and heat (non-weather related), working near moving mechanical parts, exposure to fumes or airborne particles, and chemicals.
    • Noise level in the work environment is usually moderate however some test equipment can be loud.

    EEO/AA Information

    Smithfield is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) Employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with disability, or any other protected group status or non-job related characteristic as directed by law.


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