Script: Consumer Complaint Part II
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Hello, and welcome to part two of our discussion on consumer complaints. I’m Jeff
White and with me again is Kristal Southern from FSIS. Today, we’ll continue our
discussion where we left off on consumer complaints. Last time, we provided you with
information on whom to call and what information you need to have on hand if you have
to file a complaint. Now, let’s look at how your complaint is processed and what
outcome you can expect. Kristal, tell us a little bit about how this works.
Sure thing. When FSIS receives a consumer complaint, it’s reviewed to determine
whether the complaint meets defined criteria and is eligible to be entered into the
Consumer Complaint Monitoring System, or CCMS.
Complaints will then go through a thorough evaluation process that aims at making an
appropriate determination of the fate of the complaint.
What are the possible outcomes of this evaluation process?
Food safety is a high priority for FSIS and each consumer complaint is reviewed before
making a decision to do either of two things:
- to close the case. When it is determined by CCMS staff that
the complaint does not warrant further examination. Closed case documentation
would include the reason that additional action on the complaint was not needed. A
letter will then be sent out to inform the consumer of the final determination
about their complaint.
- to request an investigation. When the CCMS staff makes a determination that the
complaint should be investigated by the appropriate FSIS field office, FSIS will then assign one
of its officials to investigate the complaint.
What happens during the investigation?
The assigned Agency official will meet with the consumer to
perform one or more of the following:
And lastly, in some cases, investigators may collect a sample of the remaining portion of the product that is the subject of the complaint from the consumer. In addition, similarly coded companion samples from the product’s point of purchase may be collected.
These samples are then submitted to an FSIS laboratory for analysis.
- Collect the relevant information and evidence needed to identify and
document the alleged problem with the product as reported by the consumer.
- Visually inspect the product that is the subject of the complaint to
verify that the correct product information was entered into CCMS, and
- Take pictures, collect physical evidence, and obtain any other information
that he or she determines is needed to identify and document the alleged
I advise the complainant to keep any remaining product and product packaging in the freezer
until he or she receives verbal or written communication from FSIS concerning the disposition of
the complaint. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, FSIS will determine the appropriate
course of action and notify the complainant accordingly.
What if I do not have all the information at the time
of the investigation, or if I get more information after my case was closed?
Well, if necessary, after a case is closed, the CCMS
staff may reopen the case based on new validated information.
Thanks, Kristal for your time today and for providing this valuable information
about the Consumer Complaint Monitoring System and how it builds trust and
maintains open communication between FSIS and consumers.
Well, that’s all for this episode. We’d like your feedback
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Thanks for tuning in.