October 2023 Snapshots
From Aug. 7-16, the FSIS Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA) conducted an onsite verification audit of Vietnam’s food safety inspection system governing Siluriformes fish products to determine whether the system remains equivalent to that of the United States, with the ability to export products that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged. The FSIS audit team included Senior Program Auditors Dr. Estella Perez and Dr. Amadou Samb along with International Audit Staff (IAS) Director Dr. Juan Rodriguez and OIEA Assistant Administrator Robert Bane.
The audit started with an entrance meeting in Hanoi on Aug. 7 between the FSIS audit team and officials of Vietnam’s Central Competent Authority, the National Agro-Forestry-Fishery Quality, Processing and Market Development Authority (NAFIQPM), which oversees establishments that process Siluriformes fish products for export to the United States. Oversight of aquaculture farms is coordinated by the Directorate of Fisheries (D-FISH) and the Department of Animal Health (DAH). In accordance with FSIS’ audit policy, the audit team visited official chemical and microbiological laboratories, NAFIQPM regional and branch offices, establishments certified by NAFIQPM as eligible to export Siluriformes fish products to the United States, and Siluriformes fish farms supplying fish to establishments eligible to export to the United States. The audit concluded with an exit meeting held remotely via videoconference on Aug. 22.
Pictured, from left: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Senior Agricultural Specialist Nga Bui and Agricultural Attaché James Yi; FSIS IAS Director Dr. Juan Rodiguez; FSIS IAS Senior Program Auditor Dr. Amadou Samb, OIEA Assistant Administrator Robert Bane; FSIS IAS Senior Program Auditor Dr. Estella Perez; NAFIQPM Director General Dr. Nguyen Nhu Tiep; and other NAFIQPM, D-FISH and DAH officials.
Photo courtesy of NAFIQPM.
Earlier this year, Office of Field Operations (OFO) Philadelphia Deputy District Manager (DDM) George Slobodjian visited establishments in the Bronx. He also engaged with New York Circuit (6012) Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSIs) at a Work Unit Meeting where they kicked off the 2023 Feds Feed Families Campaign in the circuit.
Pictured, front row, from left: Frontline Supervisor (FLS) Marilu Simeone; CSIs Aida Custodio, Bessie Bouras and Pingping Lin.
Back row, from left: DDM George Slobodjian; CSIs Michael Salvatore, Jessica Lewis, Eric Sasu, Ben Xu, Merwyn Wang, Jillian Delisle and Nicholas Sgobba.
Photo by FLS Salah Ibrahim, OFO.
Not shown: CSI Daniel Strauss.
On Sept. 22, the New York Circuit donated 272 pounds to the Food Bank of New York City.
Pictured, from left: Consumer Safety Inspectors Luis Reyes, Eric Sasu and Merwyn Wang.
Photo by a food bank staffer.
Mount Laurel, N.J.
From Sept. 11-15, the Philadelphia District conducted its annual Frontline Supervisor Meeting, led by Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations (EARO) Melissa Moore. Participants welcomed new Frontline Supervisors (FLSs): Dr. Fiyinfoluwa Oparinde, Sheila Johnson, Dr. Marcel Kouassi and Mario Smith. They gave accolades to Resource Manager Tisha Smith and her staff for their work to ensure sustainability and employee success by improving personnel business practices.
Guest speakers gave presentations, and FLSs engaged in candid discussions about various topics, including the new labor management agreement, equal employment opportunity, civil rights, pay and leave policy, and creating a safe working environment by preventing workplace harassment and violence. The meeting concluded with FLSs providing constructive feedback on leadership practices and employee development to ensure success of our food safety mission.
Pictured, front row, from left: FLS Fiyinfoluwa Oparinde; RM Tisha Smith; Deputy District Manager Chelsea Buckley; FLSs Marilu Simeone, Teresa Martinez, Jennifer Shupe, Marcel Kouassi, Beth Lehman and Lauren Entes; EARO Melissa Moore.
Back row, from left: FLS Jeronimo Soares; Philadelphia District Manager Jason Orlando; FLSs Emuel Vassey, Kristen Gentzel, Mario Smith, Eric Irvin, Paul Cole, Douglas McTyier, Joseph Crisafulli, Leo Caffrey, Jaspreet Gill, Salah Ibrahim and Tom Garvey.
Photo by Human Capital Planning and Accountability Branch Chief Susan L. Bowen, OM.
On Sept. 20, Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Emilio Esteban and Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations (EARO) Sherri Johnson visited Baltimore-area establishments.
Pictured, from left: Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) Dr. Ashley Barlett, Consumer Safety Inspector Michelle Lamb, Under Secretary Esteban, EARO Sherri Johnson, Frontline Supervisor Carol Ford and SPHV Dr. Elizabeth Davis.
Photo by an establishment employee.
On Aug. 15, Frontline Supervisor Jason Knapp received a 30-year service pin recognizing his decades of service to FSIS. He has also, together with the other Small Plant Roundtables Team members, received an Honorable Mention for Excellence in Customer Service for the 2023 Administrator’s Awards for Excellence.
Pictured, from left: OFO Dallas Deputy District Manager Dr. Kinsey Naylor-Byles issues a 30-year service pin to Frontline Supervisor Jason Knapp.
Photo by Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer Dr. Marilena Burcik, OFO.
On Sept. 14, the inspection team at a red meat establishment celebrated Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) A.C. Campos’s 35 years of service with FSIS. “CSI Campos is an integral part of the team, providing mentoring, training and wisdom from his many years of service,” said Frontline Supervisor (FLS) Adam Titor. “Join us in congratulating CSI Campos in his hard work and dedication to food safety.”
Pictured, from left: Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Rege Kuttothara and CSI A.C. Campos.
Pictured, from left: Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Rege Kuttothara, Food Inspectors (FIs) Debral Lewis and Hannah Reed, CSI A.C. Campos, FIs Lanette Holbert and Trenton Lang.
Photos by FLS Adam Titor, OFO.
On Aug. 30, FSIS held a small plant roundtable. Attending were people from small plants, large plants and small plant associations, as well as the Oregon Department of Agriculture and our sister USDA agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Our senior leaders appreciated the opportunity to connect, provide regulatory updates, and answer questions from small and very small plants.
Pictured: USDA leaders and other attendees.
Photo by Acting Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.
Des Moines, Iowa
On Sept. 12, during the Des Moines District’s Frontline Supervisor meeting, OFO Assistant Administrator Paul Wolseley presented District Manager Dr. Dawn Sprouls with an award recognizing the 30 years of service she has devoted to FSIS. Dr. Sprouls is planning to retire from government service at the end of Pay Period 27.
Pictured, from left: Deputy District Managers Mark Johnson and Jeffrey Jacobsen, Dr. Sprouls and Deputy District Manager Todd Gerwig.
Photo by Resource Coordinator Andrew Bingham, OFO.
On Sept. 14, the Office of Public Health Science’s Risk Assessment and Analytics Staff (RAAS) gathered for an in-person "retreat" at USDA Headquarters. They also met with Administrator Paul Kiecker and Deputy Administrator Terri Nintemann, where they got acquainted and talked about the work RAAS does to help inform, guide, support and enhance FSIS regulatory initiatives, internal policymaking, data collection, research priorities, and more.
Pictured, standing, from left: Senior Statistician Dr. Mike Williams, Senior Statistician Dr. Tameru Berhanu, Senior Risk Analyst Dr. Neal Golden, Senior Statistician Dr. Sunil Kumar, Risk Analyst Dr. Iva Bilanovic, Senior Veterinary Medical Officer Dr. Eric Ebel, Deputy Director Dr. Gurinder Saini, Senior Statistician Dr. Scott Malcolm, Administrator Paul Kiecker and Deputy Administrator Terri Nintemann.
Seated, from left: RAAS Director Dr. Joanna Zablotsky-Kufel, Senior Risk Analyst Dr. Davi LaBarre, Senior Statistician Dr. Drew Posny and Senior Statistician Venu Anant.
Photo by Acting Deputy Chief of Staff Alexandra Tarrant, OA.
On Sept. 21, Administrator Paul Kiecker, Deputy Administrator Terri Nintemann and Chief Operating Officer Todd Reed met with investigators from FSIS’ Internal Affairs while they were in Washington, D.C., for their All-Hands Continuing Education meeting.
Pictured, back row, from left: Chief Operating Officer Todd Reed; Investigators James Coleman, Avner Velez-Martinez, Arnall Harris, Jacob Valdez, Barry Brock and Brad Ostendorf; Acting Chief of Staff Robert Witte; Administrator Paul Kiecker.
Front row, from left: Deputy Administrator Terri Nintemann; Internal Affairs Deputy Director Nadia Summers; Investigators Manuel Madrid, Crystal Marshall, Patricia Didlake, Kate Bercaw-Hartl, Kristin Barrios and Sarah Madrigal; Internal Affairs Director Julie Lastra.
Photo by Acting Deputy Chief of Staff Alexandra Tarrant, OA.
Los Angeles, Calif.
On Aug. 8, the Los Angeles Circuit honored Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) Martha Clark for her more than 20 years of service. She originally started her career as an intermittent employee, formally known as WAE, on Dec. 1, 1997, in Jasper, Ala. In March 2000, she began a full-time position in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where she would go on to spend 18 years as a Food Inspector before being promoted to a patrol CSI for the Los Angeles Circuit. CSI Rickey Cox said, “On behalf of the Los Angeles Circuit and the entire USDA Team, we would like to thank you, CSI Martha Clark, for dedicating 20 plus years of inspection to FSIS’ mission. We are lucky to have someone like you on our team! We appreciate your dedication and willingness to support the agency mission.”
Pictured, from left: CSI Martha Clark and FLS Nashante Barnes.
Photo by CSI Gustavo Venezuela, OFO.
On Aug. 10, Phoenix Circuit supervisors celebrated Supervisory Consumer Safety Inspector (SCSI) Celia Mata for being selected as Supervisor of the Year — In-Plant for the 2023 Administrator's Awards for Excellence. “SCSI Mata’s dedication and commitment to the Agency’s mission as well as her knack at efficiently dealing with tough supervisory situations is one of the many reasons she was recognized for this prestigious award,” said Frontline Supervisor Dr. Dawn Walters. “SCSI Mata assists her supervisors, and the Alameda District office with any task asked upon her and thrown her way. We are so very delighted to have SCSI Mata as a part of the Phoenix Circuit and the Alameda District. We are overjoyed that she is being recognized with this award! Congratulations SCSI Mata! This award is most well deserved!”
Pictured, from left: Frontline Supervisor Dr. Dawn Walters, Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) Dr. Edward Klebanow, SCSI Celia Mata and SPHV Dr. Mary Howard.
Photo courtesy of FLS Dr. Dawn Walters, OFO.
On Aug. 30, employees from the Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA) Enforcement Operations Staff (EOS) met inspectors from the Office of Field Operations’ Dallas District. They discussed Consent Orders and all things enforcement.
Pictured, from left: Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSIs) Larry Scarborough and Tonya Scarborough; EOS Team Lead Dr. Ashley Etue; Frontline Supervisor Jeannine Krein; EOS Compliance Specialist Lisa Schmittzehe; Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Ginger Luck; CSIs Francis Yomi, Tanner Hill, Kim Nevius, and Fabiola Velazquez.
Photo by an establishment employee.