Key Public Health Occupations
A science-based framework is critical in identifying and preventing food safety problems. The foundation of this
framework is made up of key public health occupations within FSIS. These occupations, held by permanent full-time
Chemists perform chemical analyses of increasing complexity to determine the levels of pesticides, drug and environmental
pollutants, and biological residues. They interpret and evaluate the results of chemical analyses and compare the results to
pertinent agency regulations to assure the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products. Chemists also assess equipment, standard
operating procedures and established protocol and make recommendations for change or refinement. The analytical work performed
by chemists at FSIS impact other laboratory and other agency personnel, regulated establishments, the industry, other agencies,
and the general public.
Consumer Safety Inspectors
Consumer Safety Inspectors work in one or more privately owned meat, poultry, and egg processing plants. They ensure the
plant is operating within its written plans for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), sanitation, and processing.
In addition, they conduct regulatory oversight activities inside the plants in matters relating to other areas of consumer
protection (e.g. misbranding).
Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officers
Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officers are primarily involved in conducting onsite assessments to verify that
plant food safety systems are properly designed and functioning. They are also involved in applying administrative enforcement
processes. They collect information pertaining to voluntary recalls of meat, poultry or egg products. Consumer Safety Officers
also follow-up on consumer complaints. Enforcement Investigations Analysis Officers conduct investigations and analysis
regarding administrative or civil enforcement matters pertaining to commercial establishments operating under a grant of
Federal inspection. This includes collecting necessary information pertaining to recall activities, consumer complaints,
or other public health concerns.
Epidemiologists analyze and evaluate reported cases of illnesses possibly linked to meat, poultry, and egg products.
They also investigate and study potential meat- and poultry-borne hazards. Epidemiologists also perform special epidemiological
projects concerned with food hygiene, public health, and preventative medicine. This includes researching literature, keeping
abreast of advances in the field of epidemiology and assessing potential impacts on FSIS activities. The analysis, investigation,
conclusions, and recommendations of the epidemiologists at FSIS have an immediate impact on food hygiene programs that affect the public's health.
Food Inspectors are involved in the inspection of animals before and
after slaughter. They are engaged in various activities in order to assess compliance with the Federal Meat Inspection
Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act, as well as other applicable Federal laws
and regulations. Food Inspectors perform ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of cattle, swine, sheep, goats, chickens,
turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, and equine to assure that products are wholesome and fit for human consumption.
Food Inspectors also perform inspection of further processed products and inspection of imported products at port of entry.
Food Technologists are involved in professional work concerning the application of science and technology to food product
research, development, improvement, evaluation, production, processing, preservation, and packaging. Food Technologists perform
various activities such as planning and executing complex studies; identifying and evaluating data sources; and coordinating
projects involving analysis and evaluation. Food Technologists occupy positions at Headquarters, Center for Learning, and the
Technical Service Center.
Import Surveillance Liaison Inspectors
Import Surveillance Liaison Inspectors perform duties related to the surveillance of imported meat, poultry, and egg
products from the point at which they enter the United States to the place where import inspection is conducted.
Surveillance and liaison functions are performed at import facilities including areas such as the dock, loading areas,
refrigeration and storage areas, at land entry points along the Canadian and Mexican borders, and at air terminals
across the United States. Import Surveillance Liaison Inspectors also provide technical guidance and direction to import
inspectors and industry representatives regarding import inspection methods, procedures and regulatory requirements.
Microbiologists perform microbial analyses on official samples submitted by various agency field personnel located throughout
the United States. These microbiologists perform a full range of microbial examinations of meat and poultry products and their
ingredients to determine the presence, numbers and species of bacteria with particular emphasis on Salmonella,
Listeria, Staphylococcus, Clostridium, E. coli 0157:H7, and other species important to
public health. Microbiologists also perform various tasks associated with the adaptation and validation of methods and test
systems used in field laboratories in the analysis of meat, meat products, poultry, poultry products, and egg products.
Program Investigators are involved in administering, coordinating, supervising or performing inspectional, investigative,
analytical, or advisory work to assure understanding of and compliance with the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry
Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act, as well as other applicable Federal laws, regulations, or
mandatory guidelines. These positions are established primarily to ensure compliance of individuals or organizations with laws,
rules, regulations, executive orders, or other mandatory guidelines. Compliance is assessed by such means as inspections,
investigations, and analysis or reports. Compliance may be obtained by methods such as persuasion, negotiation, and technical
assistance. Compliance may also require actions such as citation of violations, drafting of complaints, and referral of cases
for administrative or legal proceedings.
Public Health Veterinarians
FSIS Public Health Veterinarians (PHV) supervise food inspectors and consumer safety inspectors who ensure the plants meet
requirements of the Pathogen Reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. PHVs are responsible
for ensuring the humane slaughter of livestock. Public Health Veterinarians oversee the enforcement of federal meat and poultry
inspection procedures at ante-mortem and throughout the entire establishment, including processing operations, transportation
and distribution of meat, poultry and egg products to markets and retail stores. Public Health Veterinarians play an integral
role throughout the public health process. They evaluate the design and implementation of food safety systems and are
responsible for administering enforcement actions based on the statutes.
Not all FSIS PHV work in plants. Many work at headquarters or at other field office locations throughout the United States.
In these positions, they evaluate agency programs to assess their effectiveness in ensuring the safety of meat, poultry and egg
products and other challenging tasks that ultimately protect people from foodborne illnesses. Additionally, some FSIS PHV
conduct epidemiological investigations based on reports of foodborne health hazards and disease outbreaks in collaboration with
local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Still other FSIS PHV assess State
inspection programs and design new inspection systems and procedures.
|Work of Food Inspectors