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Meet Program Specialist Natasha Williams

Natasha Williams, Program Specialist with the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training

Natasha Williams, Program Specialist with the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training

“The great thing about working in FSIS is that no day is exactly the same. There are so many initiatives that are important to both employees and stakeholders,” says Program Specialist Natasha Williams.

A native of Aurora, Colo., Williams received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Colorado. After graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she joined the Food Safety and Inspection Service in May 2009, fulfilling her lifelong ambition to make a difference through a career in public health and outreach.

As a program specialist in FSIS’ Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training, Williams provides outreach to educate small and very small establishments that specialize in slaughtering and processing by sharing technical expertise, agency updates and advice on policies, implementation of food safety systems and enforcement. She says, “Supporting these establishments is the best part of my job.”

Williams’ work to educate small and very small plants is a vital part of ensuring a safe food supply. It helps them to achieve compliance with FSIS regulations and builds stronger partnerships between industry and the agency to meet a common goal—safe food for dinner tables.

Additionally, the trainings she facilitates and the work she does to better inform plant operators complements the work of FSIS inspectors and other personnel, who ultimately work together to ensure the safety of the nation’s meat, poultry and egg products. The demanding and dynamic work that FSIS does requires staff in all areas to contribute their knowledge and expertise in order to achieve success. This team approach is how FSIS carries out its overall mission of protecting public health.

“It’s gratifying to work for an agency where you can see the difference you make everyday,” said Williams. “Working for FSIS is rewarding because you can go into grocery stores and see our inspection seal on the products you purchase. You can say to yourself: this is my agency and I work here.”

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 Williams and other Faces of Food Safety on FSIS’s website.

Natasha Williams takes donations for the Combined Federal Campaign during a meeting with coworkers.

Natasha Williams takes donations for the Combined Federal Campaign during a meeting with coworkers.

2 Responses to “Meet Program Specialist Natasha Williams”

  1. John Kersting says:

    Hello, I want to know why the previously banned chemicals benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid were re-approved on flimsy industry generated studies. I do not think this may be the usual place to voice my opinion, but if you are on the front lines so to speak, listen to this, because this is the knowledge and opinion of my family and friends, many who are organic or small farmers. I have been a journalist over 30 years and I really do not like the direction of corporate takeover of food production and distribution.

    Industrial agriculture is a filthy business, especially when animals are involved. Rather than have access to pasture and the outdoors, cows and chickens from factory farms live most, if not all, of their lives in confinement, where they wallow in their own feces, and sometimes even in the rotting carcasses of other dead animals. As a result, such animals become ill, and their systems infected with harmful pathogens that must be eliminated before human consumption.

    The reason companies like Kraft and Kemin exist and thrive is because high-profit factory farms exist and thrive. And the only way these food corporations can “safely” sell their factory-farm food products to the public is to kill it, sanitize it, and smother it in antimicrobial agents like sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid. This is done in complicity of revolving door corporate and government regulation staffing.

    So to claim that their goal in seeking approval for the three chemicals is not to conceal second-rate meat products is simply a lie. Low-grade meat products from squalid factory farms have to be disguised, otherwise the public would never purchase them.

    Beyond this, the chemical substances in question are not even safe. Sodium propionate has been linked to causing gastrointestinal upset and respiratory problems, while sodium benzoate can cause DNA damage and promote the formation of cancer cells. And benzoic acid, which is often added to processed foods, can promote the development of asthma and hyperactivity, particularly in children.

    “The continued ingestion of certain chemicals has been linked to cancer, fatigue, memory-impairment, imbalanced motor-function, diabetes, thyroid problems, confusion and far more,” says Creative Bioscience about food preservatives and additives. “Such food additives can stunt or stall weight loss and even cause more pounds to add on.”

    I wonder if you are educating people on the downsides of our corporate food production process and products with the intent of truly protecting consumers from profit before health policies. I teach because I make a positive difference in the world, but I see us handing a corrupt and poisoned world to our children. Let me know your thoughts and evidence on this matter. Thank you.

  2. Nathan Peirce says:

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post, John.

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