At two town hall meetings in Minnesota this week with Food Safety and Inspection Service employees, I had the pleasure of unveiling a new plan for food safety over the next five years. I’m very excited about our new Strategic Plan for FY 2011 through FY 2016, which will serve as the agency’s roadmap to ensuring that food produced under FSIS’ authority is safe for the American public.
This Strategic Plan should allow every single person in FSIS to have a direct line of sight between what they do every day and our objectives, and each of us should see ourselves as accountable to the public for protecting them from foodborne illnesses. We are putting forward detailed strategies and measureable tactics to reduce foodborne illness and chart our progress over the next five years, so this will serve as a foundation document for both the long-range and day-to-day operations of the Agency.
A main driver of the new Strategic Plan is the desire for the Agency to continue to be an ever more trusted and successful public health agency – an Agency that adapts to the changing nature of food safety risks. The Plan provides the American public, food safety stakeholders and FSIS employees with clear goals and discrete actions to protect public health.
FSIS will strive to continuously improve its ability to protect consumers from harm. The Agency will work with Federal, State and local organizations; consumer and industry groups; and other stakeholders to present a comprehensive and inter-dependent approach to food safety.
The Plan will guide the agency through fiscal years 2011-2016, and its eight specific, measurable goals all support three interlocking FSIS strategic themes:
- Prevent Foodborne Illness: FSIS will continually strive to become more adaptable to changing food safety risks, educate consumers on food handling best practices, and work closely with other public health partners to present a comprehensive approach to preventing illness.
- Understand and Influence the Farm-to-Table Continuum: FSIS seeks to first understand the epidemiology of foodborne illness outbreaks and factors influencing food safety issues in order to prevent foodborne illnesses, develop new policies or regulations, and effectively collaborate with other food safety organizations.
- Empower People and Strengthen Infrastructure: All FSIS employees contribute to the success of the entire Agency and deserve to take pride in the fact that what we do helps prevent foodborne illnesses.
Between now and 2016, we’ll measure our success against these eight goals. Anyone who is interested in the safety of our food supply is encouraged to take a look at the Strategic Plan and see just what we expect to accomplish.