Any PII you choose to provide FSIS will be used only for the purpose for which you provided it. We will protect your information consistent with the principles of the Privacy Act of 1974, the E-Government Act of 2002, and the Federal Records Act.
We do collect some technical information that does not include PII when you visit our site, as explained below.
Information Collected and Stored Automatically
When you browse through the website, read pages, or download information, we may gather and store certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store:
- The Internet domain (for example, "xcompany.com" or "yourschool.edu") and IP address (a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the web) from which you access our site;
- The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
- The date and time you access our site;
- The pages you visit; and
- If you linked to the FSIS site from another website, the address of that website; and
- Search phrases entered into the search box.
We use this information to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology they are using, which helps us make our site more useful. We do not track or record information about individuals and their visits. We do not track your web activities beyond your browsing of our site, and we do not cross-reference your browsing activities with other entities. We do not provide your information to other entities.
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
COPPA applies to the online collection of personal information from children under age 13. USDA complies with COPPA and does not knowingly collect personal information about children.
The Office of Management and Budget Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.
When you visit any website, its web servers may generate pieces of information known as cookies. Cookies are small files that web servers place on a user's hard drive that help a website or service “remember” your preferences, surfing patters and behavior. There are two types of cookies:
- Session cookies, also known as transient or per session cookies, serve technical purposes, like providing seamless navigation through USDA.gov. They are stored in temporary memory and are only available during an active browser session. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears.
- Persistent cookies, also known as permanent or stored cookies, are used to collect identifying information about the user, such as user name, web surfing behavior or user preference for a specific website. These cookies operate until they expire or a user deletes them.
USDA may use both types of cookies to improve our online services to you.
You can disable cookies by adjusting the setting to opt out or disable cookies on your web browser. You will still have access to all information and resources at Department websites. However, turning off cookies may affect the functioning of the website. Be aware that disabling cookies in your browser may affect cookie usage at all other websites you visit as well.
If You Send Us Personal Information
If you choose to provide us with personal information, as in an e-mail to the webmaster, FOIA officer, or other FSIS office or employee, we use that information to respond to your message and to help us locate the information you have requested. We do not collect personal information for any purpose other than to respond to you.
If you complete a publication order form, we use that information only to fulfill your publication request.
If you register for a meeting on our website, we use that information internally to plan that meeting and similar future events.
If you submit a complaint using our web-based Consumer Complaint Form, the information you provide is used to help FSIS analysts identify and respond to consumer food safety issues. Such information typically includes first name, last name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and details of the complaint. Details of the complaint can include medical symptoms and medical treatment obtained, as well as information about the origin of the food item under consideration. Complainants retain the right to report a complaint anonymously and can decide not to provide information, but they do not have the option to determine how we use the information that is provided for investigative purposes.
We treat e-mail messages the same way that we regard letters sent to the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
- We are required to maintain many documents under the Presidential Records Act for historical purposes, but we do not collect personal information for any purpose other than to respond to you.
- We share the information you give us with another government agency only if your inquiry relates to that agency, or as otherwise required by law.
- We do not create individual customer profiles with the information you provide or give it to any private organizations.
- FSIS does not collect information for commercial marketing.
We recommend that you do not include sensitive PII (for example, Social Security or account numbers) when sending e-mail to FSIS.
If You Submit Comments on a Draft Document or Agency Issuance
If you have provided comments to FSIS in the past regarding a Federal Register Notice or proposed rule, those comments are available for viewing on our site in their entirety, including any personal contact information.
Currently, comments on agency issuances are being uploaded to the Regulations.GOV portal. FSIS will provide links from our site to view the comments submitted to Regulations.GOV. The Privacy and Security Notice explains how the information you submit will be used by Regulations.GOV.
Sometimes FSIS requests feedback outside the realm of formal notice-and-comment rulemaking. For example, FSIS periodically asks for comments on draft Compliance Guidelines. All comments received in response to such requests will be made available for public inspection in the FSIS Docket Room and posted, without change, including any personal information, to the website.
Links to Other Sites
When you are on the FSIS website, the domain name will end in .GOV. It will generally begin with http://www.fsis.usda.gov. There are a few exceptions.
- If you subscribe to our e-mail subscription service, your e-mail address and subscription choices will be maintained at https://public.govdelivery.com. E-mail messages will come from email@example.com. The message itself will include in the footer, "This e-mail was sent...using GovDelivery, on behalf of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture."
- If you use askFSIS to ask an inspection-related question, the web address will begin with http://askfsis.custhelp.com. This service is provided on behalf of FSIS by Oracle/RightNow.
- If you use Ask Karen (or its Spanish-language equivalent) to ask a food safety question, the web address will begin with http://askkaren.custhelp.com (or http://preguntaleakaren.custhelp.com. This service is provided on behalf of FSIS by Oracle/RightNow.
- When using the electronic consumer complaint form, you will see the domain name https://ccms.fsis.usda.gov.
If you download one of our mobile "apps" for an Android or Apple device, please take note of the specific information in the app store. You will find a disclaimer similar to this one:
Our mobile applications are provided “as is” and on an “as-available” basis. We hereby disclaim all warranties of any kind, express or implied, including without limitation the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. We make no warranty that our mobile applications will be error-free, that the underlying data will be error-free, or that access thereto will be continuous or uninterrupted. USDA does not warrant, either explicitly or by implication, that this software program will not cause damage to the user’s computer or computer operating system, nor does USDA warrant, either explicitly or implicitly, the effectiveness of the software application.
For more information on the use of mobile apps, consult the documentation for your particular device.
More Information on Vendor-Provided Services
As noted, FSIS does offer some website services through third parties.
- To use our e-mail subscription service, you will need to provide an e-mail address. No other information is collected. You may password protect your account.
- You may use the askFSIS question-and-answer tool anonymously. However, if you wish to receive a personalized reply, you will need to create a password-protected account by providing user ID, password, e-mail address, first and last name, and customer type. (See the Submit a Question tab at http://askfsis.custhelp.com for details.)
- You may use the Ask Karen question-and-answer tool anonymously. However, if you wish to receive a personalized reply, you will need to provide an e-mail address. (See the Submit a Question tab at http://askkaren.custhelp.com for details.)
As with any information you provide to FSIS, this information is secure and is used only to respond to your request.
Privacy Impact Assessments
The USDA uses third-party services such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to communicate and interact with the public. You may encounter these services as separate websites (for example, the USDA Facebook page, or as applications embedded within the USDA's websites. These services are controlled and operated by third parties, and are not government websites or applications. By interacting with USDA through these third-party services, you may be providing non-government third parties access to your personal information which can be used to distinguish or trace your identity. Any information collected by a third-party service is subject to the privacy policies of the third-party service provider. These third-party services may, for example, use persistent (multi-session) cookies.
Generally, USDA does not collect, disseminate, or maintain any personally identifiable information about you maintained by third-party sites. However, you should be aware that USDA may read, review, or rely upon information that you make publicly available for the USDA on these services (for example, comments made on the USDA's Facebook page), as authorized or required by law.
Please note that these third-party services supplement USDA's traditional communication and outreach efforts. Should you have concerns about communicating with USDA via these channels, please use traditional channels to contact us.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.
Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs are used for no other purposes and are scheduled for regular destruction in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration General Schedule 20.
Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under applicable Federal laws.
Comments or Questions
If you have any comments or questions about the information presented here please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org.