The unique physical and structural properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have made them a powerful sensing material. CNTs exhibit excellent adsorption capabilities due to their large surface area and available bonding sites for other molecules. There has been increasing interest in using CNT-based sensors for food safety control based upon accurate detection of foodborne threats. These sensors can replace, or at least serve as a powerful alternative to, the existing sensing systems that often suffer from low sensitivity, poor specificity, low detection limit, long detection time and high costs. Here we provide a critical review on CNT sensors and their applications in food safety and quality analysis. Due to the wide variety of potential substances, the sensors are divided into different groups based upon the materials under detection. The critical information such as the sensor designs, sensing principles, material preparation processes and sensing experiments are summarized and discussed. The increased accuracy and effectiveness have made CNTs a promising sensing material for low-cost, portable and powerful sensors. With the intensive and continuous research in this field, it is anticipated that these sensors will become increasingly more useful in the food industry.