Today, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service shared with the public our “New Year’s Resolutions” for Fiscal Year 2014. Like many of the people who consume the products we regulate, we set new goals for ourselves at the beginning of each year. Known as the Annual Performance Plan, this list of key results we plan to achieve between now and September 2014 to do our jobs better, which means making America’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products safer to eat. This is our third APP. It is something that we take very seriously. It is consistent with our emphasis on performance and our efforts to improve how we do our jobs every day.
The goals listed in our APP are all measurable. By setting specific targets and measuring our progress throughout the year, we have a clearer picture of what is working well, which initiatives are not effective, and where we may not be challenging ourselves enough. By making our targets public, we are holding ourselves accountable to you, and we are giving the regulated industry, consumers, and other interested persons an overview of our priorities and of our expectations for the year ahead.
As you can see from the APP, priority number one for our agency is reducing consumer exposure to Salmonella, illnesses from which have been steady if not rising in recent years. This is reflected in our goals from proposed inspection modernization and data development to consumer outreach tactics. We committed to preventing as many illnesses as possible from Salmonella.
All of this is part of FSIS’ efforts over the past several years to modernize our operations, becoming a more efficient and effective public health agency. Everything in this year’s APP, and those from the past two years, is tied to one of the eight overriding goals that we set out for ourselves in our 2011-2016 Strategic Plan. We recognize we may not meet all of them, but we have to measure what we are doing to know how much progress we are making. This is not only good government, it is how we achieve our mission while being good stewards of taxpayer resources.
FSIS is one team, with one purpose. I am honored to work alongside such dedicated employees every day. I look forward to seeing the enhanced safety of meat, poultry and processed egg products borne out in 2014.