Im Alexandra Tarrant with FSIS, and Im 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 PHIS.
Now at this point, weve been talking about PHIS for some time, but tell us Dr. Petersen, why do we need it?
PHIS will integrate FSIS currently separate systems, such as PBIS, RIS, and AIIS into one comprehensive data-driven inspection system.
This integrated system will also be fully-automated, enhancing the agencys ability to protect public health and food defense.
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 its a good one, thatll provide the FSIS workforce with useful tools, and make us a better agency.
Of course, and Im 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 planning?
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 weve received through user and performance testing.
Were 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 visit