Have you ever opened a package from the grocery store to find that something wasn’t right about it, and then wondered who to call to report a problem? The company’s toll-free number? The grocery store that sold it? Or someone else? If that product involves meat, poultry, or a processed egg product, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service just made it easier consumers to alert the agency to food safety problems, any time of the day or night.
The Electronic Consumer Complaint Form (ECCF), which became available on FSIS’s website this morning, will allow consumers to submit the important information FSIS needs to begin an investigation in just six steps. Consumers will be requested to provide details on:
- When and where the product was purchased;
- When and how the problem was noticed;
- And how the agency can contact you for more information. Personal information is optional and will be used solely for the agency’s investigative purposes and product tracking. Read more »
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Most people reading this probably have heard the statistic by now that one in six Americans, or 48 million people, is expected to get sick from foodborne illness each year. You also probably have a lot of questions about what federal public health agencies are doing to prevent those illnesses, and what precautions you can take to further protect yourself and your family. Read more »
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. Read more »
Most mornings, the Rev. Nonnie Holliman is awake at 3:30 a.m. to begin looking after a group that means a great deal to him—you and your family. In addition to leading Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in Syracuse, N.Y., Holliman works 12-hour shifts as a Consumer Safety Inspector at a nearby meat and poultry processing plant. In this capacity, he provides the first line of defense against diseased or adulterated food reaching store shelves.
CSI’s are in meat and poultry plants every single day that they operate. They observe plant employees, take microbiological samples, and examine plant records to make sure firms are following federal regulations and creating safe and wholesome products for people to enjoy.
“I work every day knowing that my family and I will eat the food that we inspect, and I am sure that I speak for other inspectors in saying that our work matters,” he said. Read more »
Dr. Regina Tan says three words best describe her work at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service: “I save lives.” As Director of the Applied Epidemiology Division for FSIS’s Office of Public Health Science, Dr. Tan and her staff are responsible for detecting health hazards in food, like disease-causing bacteria, allergens, strange objects, or diseases humans can catch from animals.
“This job is very personal to me. I have a son who depends on me to make sure he is safe. I think of this work by putting the faces of my family to it,” Dr. Tan has said. Read more »
Olga Morales admits she is kind of a workaholic.
Two decades ago, Olga Morales worked inside an egg products plant in Elizabeth, N.J., inspecting food to make sure it was safe for the public to purchase and to eat. Today, after rising through the ranks at the Food Safety and Inspection Service, she works at a desk job in Washington, D.C., where she investigates food safety violations by meat, poultry and egg products companies.
Despite the changes in her work environment between then and now, Olga feels the same excitement when she goes to work every morning as she did 20 years ago. “I am proud of my work, and I want everyone to know that,” she said.
Born and raised in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Olga knew when she was 5 years old that she wanted a career where she could help people and “make a difference” in their lives. It was in high school that her interest in science grew and she had the opportunity to do well in her favorite subjects—anything related to science. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the InterAmerican University in Puerto Rico, she began her federal career with the U.S. Department of Defense working as a health technician and held other health-related jobs in the private sector. Read more »