Faces of Food Safety: Jeremy "Todd" Reed
If you had asked Jeremy "Todd" Reed's friends to name a place where he'd least likely work, a place dealing with food safety would probably be at the top of their list, he says. "They'd be shocked." Why? It is because Reed's resume puts him squarely on course for a high-level position at the Department of Defense or Homeland Security. So, what is a guy with degrees in Chinese and International Relations, with advanced credentials in mathematics — the author of a book on China's Islamic Militants and the Global Terrorist Threat — doing in a place like this? The answer is simple: he's making a difference.
"The more I find out about FSIS and food safety, the more I realize that this is an area I enjoy and can make a real difference," Reed says. "FSIS has a great mission. Not only is it interesting, but the work the agency does matters."
Looking for an important and noble mission, Reed found his place with the Food Safety and Inspection Service almost 2 years ago. At FSIS, he serves as Chief of the Analytical Design Branch, Data Analysis and Integration Group of the agency's Office of Data Integration and Food Protection, also known as ODIFP.
|"The more I find out about FSIS and food safety, the more I realize that this is an area I enjoy and can make a real difference."
Jeremy "Todd" Reed
ODIFP oversees all food defense activities for FSIS, develops and implements procedures to prepare for, respond to and recover from intentional and unintentional contamination and significant food emergencies and natural disasters affecting meat, poultry and processed egg products. The office also coordinates the agency's data collection, analysis, and integration activities across all program areas. Reed is the first to admit that his title is long and that of the office in which he works even longer, but while the work he does is complex and involves things like logic and equations, it all boils down to one thing: making sure the nation's meat, poultry and processed egg supply are safe.
Reed's Work is Revolutionizing the Way FSIS Uses Data
Reed is the go-to guy if there is a question or concern about the agency's new Public Health Information System or PHIS. PHIS is a web-based system that brings together many of FSIS' data sources. If there is a problem with the system, Reed often gets the questions and has the answers.
One of Reed's colleagues on the PHIS project sums up his work best: "Todd is so committed, honest and he will tell you like it is. He doesn't just tell you what the problem is, he will tell you what needs to be done to fix it, too."
Connecting His Two Worlds
The longer Reed spends with FSIS, the more, he says, he is able to find similarities between his past and present work. "While USDA and the Department of Defense have different missions, the tools and techniques for analyzing data are the same. The Department of Defense is helping to make where you live safe and FSIS is working to make the food supply safe. I am finding more similarities than differences. Protecting the public's health is rewarding work, and if I do my job well, no one will ever know my name."