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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Faces of Food Safety: CSI Guillermo Orquiz, Proud to Protect Public Health

Guillermo OrquizImpacting the Lives of Others

Practicing food safety at work, at home and in the community is essential for Guillermo Orquiz, a rotating CSI in the Albuquerque, N.M., circuit. The 7-year FSIS employee knows the importance of his job and tries to impart his knowledge to consumers of all ages.

“Every year, I perform at least four outreach events,” Orquiz said. “I do some at my kids’ middle and elementary schools, where I give a food safety presentation and hand out food safety publications to students, teachers and parents who attend. I also participate in high school job fairs because many of these students will be entering the food industry – working in fast food or some other type of restaurant environment. I feel that it’s really important for them to know the basics of food safety.”

Orquiz has become so popular in Albuquerque, where he lives and works, that he finds himself being recognized in public. “Hello, meat inspector!” the kids call out. He states that he likes his “rock star status” because it means he’s doing his job in getting out the agency’s food safety messages. He also assists with distributing the agency’s messages as a member of his district’s EEOAC (Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee) and often contributes to the committee’s monthly newsletter.

“I participate in these types of activities because I truly believe that I’m making a difference in other people’s lives,” he said. “And that’s how I feel about being an FSIS employee. FSIS has prepared me to protect public health and I want to prepare others.”

"FSIS has prepared me to protect public health and I want to prepare others."

Guillermo Orquiz

Passion for Food Safety

“I know how important and critical my job is; no matter if I’m inspecting 1 pound of product or thousands ... safe food is my main focus,” Orquiz said passionately. “I have to make sure the products in the plants that I work in are safe for consumption. Consumers count on inspectors to ensure that their food is safe. This job isn’t a fad; it will never go out of style to eat, and each and every day I ask myself, ‘Would I feed this food to my kids?’”

Orquiz gives credit to his parents and an FSIS inspector for pursuing a career with the agency. His parents have owned and operated a USDA-inspected ready-to-eat facility in Deming, N.M., since 1977. Growing up and working in his parents’ business, Orquiz learned the ins and outs of the food business.

“My parents taught me all about the food industry and producing a wholesome product. I learned from my parents that it is a partnership between the plant and the inspector,” he said. “When we went under HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) in the late 90s, we had to attend a training seminar that was held by the state of New Mexico and USDA inspectors. I thought that HACCP was going to revolutionize the food industry, and I really understood how the plants needed to have the responsibility to design their own plan.”

Guillermo Orquiz

Orquiz met a lot of inspectors while working in his parents’ business, but it was one inspector, in particular, that encouraged him to apply for an FSIS position. “I became friends with CSI Lloyd Massey, and he taught me a lot about USDA’s regulations. I took what he taught me and what I learned from working with my parents and applied it to my job at FSIS,” he said. “I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and it has afforded me the advantage to see from both perspectives—USDA’s and the plants.”

 

Last Modified Oct 17, 2016