Food Safety and Security: What Consumers Need to Know

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 18, 2013

From the USDA Guide’s introduction: “For nearly a century, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been protecting the Nation’s food supply. This long history has allowed USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to develop the expertise and systems to protect our Nation’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products against intentional and unintentional contamination. With a solid food safety infrastructure in place, FSIS has also been able to focus on strengthening existing programs and improving lines of communication, both internally and externally. Through cooperation with industry, consumers, and other government agencies, FSIS has an extensive system in place that can properly respond to a food security emergency. Assuring the safety and security of the food supply is a vital part of FSIS’ public health mission. FSIS has more than 7,600 inspectors and veterinarians working in plants with meat, poultry, and egg products and at ports-of-entry every day to prevent, detect, and respond to food safety issues. FSIS also has more than 100 employees across the United States who monitor meat, poultry, and egg products at import facilities, including docks, loading areas, and refrigeration and storage areas. They also monitor the movement of product through distribution channels. FSIS continues to look for ways to improve food safety. This includes devising the best methods for tracking cases of foodborne illness and identifying outbreaks more quickly. The Agency also aims to make sure that plans for reducing the risks of foodborne illness are based on the best available science and technology, and adjusting the FSIS workforce to support the increasingly science based and public health-oriented system.”

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