Iím Alexandra Tarrant with FSIS, and Iím here today
with Administrator Al Almanza and Assistant Administrator
for the Office of Field Operations, Dr. Kenneth Petersen.
Thank you both for chatting with me today about this
important topic of the Public Health Information System, or
Now at this point, weíve been talking about PHIS for
some time, but tell us Dr. Petersen, why do we need it?
PHIS will integrate FSISí currently separate systems, such
as PBIS, RIS, and AIIS into one comprehensive data-driven
This integrated system will also be fully-automated,
enhancing the agencyís ability to protect public health and
FSIS will have a consolidated wealth of timely information
at its disposal, empowering the agency to tailor and analyze
inspection activities, which has been much more limited
under PBIS. It will give us a better picture of what is
happening at plants across the country, as it is happening.
Ok, so all those things seem very positive. Are
there any challenges to this system?
Getting used to the system will undoubtedly take time,
like any changes the agency has made in the past.
Training will help prepare FSIS employees to use and
navigate the system.
PHIS is a change, but I think itís a good one, thatíll
provide the FSIS workforce with useful tools, and make us a
Of course, and Iím sure a lot of effort has gone
into making this system great. Can you tell us about those
efforts, Mr. Almanza? I mean, how long has this been in
PHIS has been in development for a couple years, with
people working around the clock to make sure we get it
right, and the system delivers what we have promised.
Also, PHIS will be a flexible and dynamic system. You can
all expect to see continued improvements and enhancements to
the system as we move forward.
What are you seeking to achieve with PHIS?
Well, ultimately the main purpose here is to protect the
public and prevent foodborne illness. The work FSIS
employees perform everyday, be that working on the line,
investigating consumer complaints, or teaching the public
about food safety, is fundamental to the agency
accomplishing its mission. In everything we do, from
training to inspection, always remember that you protect the
public health, and keep people safe from foodborne illness.
So before we go, can you just give us a quick
update? How is progress coming along?
The development team is working rigorously to refine the
system based on the feedback weíve received through user and
Weíre shooting for a Spring roll-out of the system.
Great! Thank you, Dr. Petersen and Mr. Almanza. And
thank you for being here. For more details on PHIS, please