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Remarks by Under Secretary Catherine Woteki, Memorial Service, June 30, 2000, Oakland, CA

Speeches & Presentations
Remarks prepared for delivery by Dr. Catherine Woteki, Under Secretary for Food Safety, Memorial Service for Jean Hillery, Thomas Quadros, and William Shaline, June 30, 2000, Oakland, CA

I never had the privilege of meeting Jean Hillery, Thomas Quadros, and William Shaline. I did not know the thousand and one unique characteristics their families and colleagues will remember and miss every day.

But I do know something about the important job they performed. Protecting the nation's food supply is a difficult job, and it is a responsibility that Jean, Tom, and Bill took very seriously.

Every FSIS employee plays an enormously important role, whether they work in a plant, in a laboratory, or behind a desk. The same goes for the equally dedicated employees who work at the State and local levels.

That is why all of us — even those who did not know Jean, Tom, and Bill personally — feel such a connection to them. We all contribute to the same job — keeping food safe for the public. Despite the miles that may separate us, we are part of a very close family.

Of course, our employees on the front lines — compliance officers, food inspectors, and veterinarians — have very special roles because they are out there day-in and day-out, ensuring that the laws and regulations that govern the safety of food are observed. Our field inspectors and veterinarians work in the plants, ensuring that products produced are safe. And our compliance officers investigate possible violations of the law, often working with state and local officials, in order to make industry accountable for its actions.

As part of the cadre of the approximately 200 compliance officers in FSIS, Jean and Tom carried out very challenging, specialized work. They visited many different types of businesses, from warehouses, to plants, to nursing homes, to supermarkets. They came in contact with a wide variety of people and some tense situations where adulterated products had to be controlled, inspection withheld, and violations documented. Jean and Tom, along with California State employee Bill Shaline, were investigating allegations that a plant was illegally operating without inspection when the tragedy occurred.

It is no accident that this country has the safest food supply in the world. It is due to the hard work carried out by government employees like Jean, Tom, and Bill. I offer my condolences to their families, friends, and co-workers. I hope it is some comfort to know that they were the best and brightest in public service.

Introduction of Secretary Glickman
I would now like to introduce Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. We are honored to have the Secretary with us today as we mourn the deaths and celebrate the lives of Jean Hillery, Tom Quadros and Bill Shaline.

Secretary Dan Glickman has had many opportunities to meet the fine people of USDA who are carrying out our huge mission. Among his many accomplishments, he has made food safety one of his highest priorities and led a great effort to ensure equal standards of dignity and respect are honored by those who serve and those who are served by USDA programs.

I'm honored to introduce Secretary Glickman.
—END—
Last Modified Jun 12, 2013