|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
News and Information
July 7, 2000
|TO:||Owners and Operators of
Federally Inspected Plants
FSIS Field Employees
We are all saddened by the tragic killing of two compliance officers and one state of California investigator at the Santos Linguisa Factory, a sausage processor in San Leandro, California. We must do all we can to help prevent the kind of tragedy that occurred in San Leandro from ever happening again. One step that may help in this goal is for all of us to redouble our efforts to ensure that both plant owners and operators and FSIS field personnel demonstrate a professional relationship in their daily work. Back in July 1988, agency officials and industry representatives developed the following objective In order to improve the working relationship between the industry and the agency.
To improve the professional relationship between inspection and industry personnel at the workplace and resolve differences in a business-like and equitable manner to meet the goals of the inspection program.
With this objective in mind, the agency developed a set of principles to guide and help foster better industry/agency relationships. The principles were communicated to FSIS field personnel and incorporated in various agency training programs. It was anticipated that plant officials and employees would also apply these principles in their daily dealings with each other. Therefore, we ask both Industry and FSIS field personnel to re-visit these principles and to reflect on their business dealings to make sure they exercise the following behavior in their dealings with one another:
Maintain open, honest, and straightforward communications.
Have mutual respect for one another.
Be issue oriented; do not personalize.
Maintain a work environment that is absent the fear of retaliation and intimidation.
Understand each other's role and responsibilities.
As previously stated, these principles were developed for use by FSIS field personnel. We encourage plant personnel to (1) reflect on what has happened and to personally consider how they may be conducting themselves when dealing with FSIS field personnel, and (2) be even more sensitive to the importance of maintaining a businesslike relationship with all FSIS personnel, so as to lessen the possibly that tensions may arise between them.
Though an isolated incident, the San Leandro killings could conceivably affect how FSIS field personnel may view plant officials and employees. This is only natural. We will do our part to bring understanding to FSIS personnel about their relationship to industry but it is important that industry do likewise. We therefore encourage both plant officials and FSIS field personnel to use the procedures already established, as well as the appeals process, to deal with intimidation and retaliation concerns instead of taking matters into their own hands. There are two directives in place for this purpose. They are:
FSIS Directive 4735.4 - Report Assaults, Threats, Intimidation, or Interference (For use by FSIS personnel)
FSIS Directive 4735.7 - Industry Accusations Against Inspection Personnel
These directives are available on the FSIS Web site (www.fsis.usda.gov).
We ask everyone to please reflect on the content of this memorandum and to make a personal commitment to do everything possible to ensuring a professional, business-like relationship with each other.
The linked directives are PDF files.
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For Further Information Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-9113
Fax: (202) 720-5704
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