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Meet Michelle Cox, Face of Food Safety

Growing up, all Michelle Cox could think about was being a teacher. She envisioned herself in a classroom making a lasting impact on young lives, becoming one of those teachers students would remember forever.

Today, Cox is making a significant contribution as a teacher, but her students are not in the classroom. They are her colleagues within the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Office of Field Operations. Cox is a Supervisory Consumer Safety Inspector (SCSI), and her job involves supervising and training new meat, poultry and egg products inspectors. A SCSI also performs a variety of food inspection activities, but it is the instruction aspect that has most captured Cox’s heart.

“This is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had,” Cox said.

FSIS was not Cox’s first choice of employment. Or tenth. She majored in animal husbandry and is an honest-to-goodness cowgirl, having competed in professional rodeo competitions and paying her way through college on a rodeo scholarship

“Not too many people can claim that,” she joked.

Michelle Cox, Supervisory Consumer Safety Inspector for the Food Safety and Inspection Service

Michelle Cox, Supervisory Consumer Safety Inspector for the Food Safety and Inspection Service

Cox found her way to FSIS in 2002. “I was a single mom, and my job had been downsized. The only job I could find at the time was at a cold storage facility”—a facility that dealt with FSIS-inspected products. An FSIS inspector she met on the job encouraged her to apply to become a food inspector.

Cox got the job and was first assigned to a beef plant. She quickly rose to a supervisory position and was awarded the 2011Administrator’s Award for Excellence for creating an informal training program for newly promoted CSIs. The program provides an overview of what new inspectors will encounter on the job and what they need to know to be successful.

“There is no wiggle room when it comes to protecting the public health. It has to be right the first time,” She said.

Cox said it was persistence, patience and a drive to succeed that has fueled her rise within FSIS.

“Success is what you make of it. If you sit back and take the easy route, success will pass you by. If you jump in with both feet and do all that you can, you will be rewarded both professionally and personally,” she said.

Faces of Food Safety is an initiative by FSIS to introduce Americans to the real people who work every day to keep the food in their own homes and yours safe. Click to read more about Cox and other Faces of Food Safety on FSIS’s website.

One Response to “Meet Michelle Cox, Face of Food Safety”

  1. Sharon Agne says:

    Dear Ms. Cox,
    In the recent days it has come to my attention that Mars Incorporated has been the focus of concern regarding hundreds of ill animals after consuming food from new bags of one of their brands, Pedigree. Vomiting bile and hemorrhagic bleeding apparent in stools are the common symptoms. Many animals have suffered irreversible or fatal reactions. The public is asking for action on consumer sites. So far, the company is backing their product as inspected and safe by normal protocol testing. Meanwhile, as the cases are being portrayed as randomly occurring, the consumers responses are compiling. The Pedigree brand formula is regularly altered leading many to speculate changes in the recipe causing the outbreak of illness. This is uncertain, but has been a common question among blogs. Mars has thus far denied fault with no recall initiated. If there is any way to have a voice, the public needs answers and action. Thank you for your time and any assistance.

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