Compliance Investigator Positions
Food Safety and Inspection Service
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for ensuring the Nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and processed egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. To meet its vital mission of keeping regulated products safe from production to the consumer’s table, FSIS has inspectors in federally regulated meat, poultry, and egg processing plants and investigators in commerce.
FSIS works closely with the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG), as well as other Federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Protective Services FPS), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). FSIS also works closely with State and local agriculture, health, and law enforcement agencies.
FSIS activities are conducted under the authority of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), the Poultry Inspection Act (PPIA), and the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA). The acts provide authority for the effective regulation of meat, poultry, and processed egg products.
Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit
The Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA) is the program area within FSIS that conducts surveillance and investigative activities at businesses that handle meat, poultry and egg products for commerce; investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks; response to natural disaster and intentional contamination events; enforcement of FSIS criminal, civil and administrative sanctions and authorities; verification that state meat and poultry programs are conducted in a manner at least equal to the federal program; and verification that meat, poultry and egg products imported into the United States are produced under equivalent standards. OIEA is also responsible for defending the Agency before third parties concerning complaints of discrimination, appeals of adverse actions, and unfair labor practice charges.
Compliance and Investigations Division
The Compliance and Investigations Division (CID) within OIEA is responsible for monitoring meat, poultry, and egg products in commerce to ensure they are from approved sources, properly labeled, wholesome, and fit for human consumption. Some examples of regulated entities include transporters, processors, distributors, retailers, renderers, brokers, abattoirs, restaurants, food banks, warehouses, and institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.
CID investigates and documents alleged violations of the FMIA, PPIA and EPIA to support enforcement actions in the criminal, civil and administrative arenas. CID Investigators are authorized to detain meat, poultry, and egg products when there is reason to believe those products may be adulterated, misbranded or otherwise in violation of statutory or regulatory requirements to prevent their further movement in commerce.
CID Roles and Responsibilities
CID implements a nationwide compliance and investigations program in support of the FSIS public health mission. Investigations are often a collaborative effort conducted by individuals or teams across the United States. To protect the Nation’s food supply, CID investigators carry out critical activities, including:
- Conducting surveillance of in-commerce facilities focused on food safety, food defense, court order verification, and other consumer protection activities
- Investigating alleged violations of law to support criminal, civil, and administrative actions, including prosecutions
- Sampling product for pathogens, species, economic adulteration, and foreign ingredients
- Educating businesses and officials about food safety and food defense
- Serving as a liaison to other Federal, State, and local public health agencies and law enforcement officials
Investigators also play a crucial role in FSIS’ homeland security activities, including detecting, preventing, and responding to food tampering incidents, food smuggling, natural disasters, and other threats to the food supply.
CID has a substantial role in responding to foodborne illness outbreaks by performing investigations in cooperation with other Federal, State, and local public health partners. Investigators conduct traceback/traceforward activities to identify the vehicles of contamination pertaining to foodborne illness outbreaks and to determine the location of implicated products. These activities may result in recalls, detentions and/or seizures which provide for the removal of adulterated products from commerce to protect public health and prevent further illnesses.
CID supports a range of criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement functions such as:
- Referrals to the USDA Office of General Counsel and/or OIG for prosecution, injunction, or product seizure actions by DOJ.
- Verification of compliance with settlement agreements and other case outcomes on behalf of FSIS and assists with coordination of legal actions.
CID offers an excellent opportunity for individuals who seek greater responsibility and are critical and analytical thinkers. You will play a major role in ensuring the safety of our Nation’s meat, poultry, and egg products supply and will have a positive and direct impact on public health.
For employment at the entry level, you will need specialized experience defined as investigative, enforcement, or food industry/service experience. Candidates may also qualify for entry level positions based on accredited college level course work in subjects such as criminal justice, criminology, food science, and food technology, or a combination of work experience and education.
Compliance Investigator Qualifications
To be considered minimally qualified for this position, you must demonstrate that you have the required specialized experience and/or education for the respective grade level in which you are applying:
Specialized Experience: You must have at least one year of specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal service performing duties which include:
- Developing strategies, practicing different techniques to gauge appropriateness, and learning a body of precedents regarding compliance reviews;
- Consulting legislation such as the Federal Meat Inspection Act, Poultry Products Inspection Act, and Egg Products Inspection Act, as well as regulations and statements of policy in the form of directives or notices; and
- Handling cases pertaining to problems where established compliance regulations, practices, and procedures are applicable.
Education: You must possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or three full years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to such a degree. This education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of this position. One year of full-time graduate education is the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that information cannot be determined from the school, 54 semester hours should be considered as equivalent to 3 years of full-time study. (You must submit a copy of your transcripts for verification.)
Combination: You must have an appropriate combination of successfully completed graduate level education and experience. To determine your combination, first compute your experience as a percentage of the experience listed above; then determine your education as a percentage of the education listed above; then add the two percentages. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent. Only graduate education in excess of two full years (36 semester hours) may be used to qualify. (You must submit a copy of your transcripts for verification.)
Specialized Experience: You must have at least one year of specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service performing duties which include:
- Planning and conducting surveillance activities in commercial operations, such as retail stores, 3D/4D operators, transporters, cold-storage warehouses, distributors, salvage operators, renderers, brokers, animal food manufacturers, and other handlers/processors of meat and poultry products;
- Detecting, planning, and developing criminal, bio-security, and illness outbreak investigations, and other enforcement activities involving surveillance activities, collection and analysis of evidence, and control of adulterated/misbranded product performance of undercover work;
- Coordinating on responses to alleged violations related to criminal investigations, bio-security threats, foodborne illness outbreaks, and other activities; and
- Participating in the formulation of policies, procedures, and programs, including establishment of goals and priorities for program activities.
*Education cannot be substituted for experience to qualify for the GS-12 grade level.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
Current Job Opportunities
To search for current vacancies, please visit www.usajobs.gov.
Click here to learn where CID offices are located: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/contactus/fsis-offices/office-investigation-enforcement-and-audit-oiea