The USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone has finished its spring 2012 tour, taking hands-on food safety lessons across the Southeast. Stopping in the smallest towns and big cities like Dallas, we were able to educate over 175,000 people on preventing foodborne illness. Real food safety experts who work in meat and poultry plants near each town—like veterinarians, investigators, and other FSIS personnel—came out to staff the events. FSIS Administrator Al Almanza even came to the last stop in San Antonio. Here are some of my favorite moments along the way: Read more »
In April of all months, “audit” is the last word most Americans want to hear but last month the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service was cheering because it passed a very meaningful audit by the Office of the Inspector General. According to the OIG, FSIS is appropriately managing meat and poultry slaughter establishments’ appeals of humane handling enforcement actions.
In December 2010, USDA’s Office of Food Safety proactively asked the OIG to determine whether FSIS addressed these types of appeals in a consistent, timely, and accurate manner. The OIG audit was extensive, covering humane handling appeals filed by the industry over a four-year period from January 2007 to December 2010. Not only did OIG publish positive findings; this is the second time in more than eight years that the OIG has published a final report for FSIS without any formal recommendations. Read more »
One of the things I started to do when I became Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA was to hold town hall meetings with Food Safety and Inspection Service field staff and Administrator Al Almanza. This week I had the pleasure of holding such a meeting with our headquarters staff in Washington.
I began the town hall meeting by asking a question: How many people in this country get sick every year from the food they eat? The answer is 48 million people – 1 in every 6 people. Of those, 128,000 will be hospitalized and 3,000 will die from something as basic as the food they eat. That’s a major public health issue, and the work we do is all about bringing those numbers down. Read more »
When I learned this week of one of our folks being named a candidate finalist for the White House Savings Award, I couldn’t have been more pleased with her idea and effort to improve the way in which we try to achieve a higher standard of how we do things every day. Marjorie Cook, an FSIS inspector from Gobles, Mich., was among four finalists this year for the Obama administration’s White House Save Award, a contest that seeks cost-cutting ideas from rank-and-file federal employees. Through dedication and creative thinking, Marjorie’s idea stood out from 18,000 submissions on how to be more cost-effective in the federal government, which will result in saving taxpayer dollars. President Obama plans on including the winning idea in his proposed fiscal year 2012 budget. Read more »
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza (fourth from left) was among the senior executives from 10 federal agencies who took part in the Interagency Import Safety Conference at Dulles, Va., on October 21, 2010.
Yesterday I visited with FSIS personnel and 9 other federal agencies in Dulles, Virginia to focus on a critical element of food safety: protecting the public from unsafe imports. Read more »
El Administrador del Servicio de Inocuidad e Inspección de Alimentos (FSIS, por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos (USDA, por sus siglas en inglés), Al Almanza, conversa acerca de cómo el Departamento está llegando a los consumidores que hablan español, y demostrando cómo mantener los alimentos sanos para prevenir las enfermedades transmitidas a través de los alimentos.
Hoy, estoy orgulloso de anunciar el lanzamiento de dos herramientas adicionales del FSIS para la inocuidad alimentaria, dirigidas especialmente para satisfacer las necesidades de nuestra comunidad de habla hispana: Pregúntele a Karen y la cuenta oficial de Twitter en español. Con ambos servicios, el FSIS puede proveerles a los consumidores con la más reciente y actualizada información en español acerca de las retiradas de alimentos y consejos sobre el manejo adecuado de alimentos. Pregúntele a Karen (Ask Karen) es una representante virtual con información en inocuidad alimentaria que puede conducir “Charlas” en vivo en español, compartiendo información en la inocuidad de los alimentos. Read more »