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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: To Michael Cawvey, It’s Not Just Cows, Hogs and Chickens

CSI Michael Cawvey at work in processing facility.For more than a quarter of a century, CSI Michael Cawvey, in OFO’s Denver district, has seen a lot and done even more.

Cawvey has been an inspector at beef, swine, goat, sheep, elk, buffalo, ostrich and poultry slaughter plants in Oregon, Idaho and California. Currently, he is assigned to a squab (young pigeon) slaughter facility in Mesa, Wash., and to a processing facility in a prison in Connell, Wash.

Not a Typical Day in the Life of a CSI

A typical day for Cawvey is a busy one. He spends about 5 hours of his day inspecting a custom slaughter facility that processes approximately 2,200 non-eviscerated squabs.

“Slaughtering these birds is different because these birds will be served at high-end Asian-style restaurants and final plating presentation is important to these owners,” Cawvey explained as he detailed the precise process.

Cawvey inspects the birds once they have been bled, defeathered and placed in a tub by plant employees. “I check the exterior of the bird for diseases, discoloration or swelling in the joints. If the bird contains any of these issues, it will be discarded,” he said.

When Cawvey isn’t at the squab plant, he’s at a medium-level security state prison where he inspects food in the facility’s “Food Factory.”

"I get tremendous satisfaction knowing that I help make sure our nation’s food supply is safe for your family and mine..."

Michael Cawvey

“The inmates produce a large variety of fully cooked shelf stable products, such as roasts, meatloaf patties, sliced deli meats, stews, chilis and meat sauces,” he continued. “They process raw beef to make taco meat and burritos for the school lunch program and meals for the Meals on Wheels program for the elderly who live in the community. They also have a Halal program and produce products for the Muslim population in the prison.”

Cawvey’s duties at the prison include reviewing the prison’s food-related programs, monitoring sanitation practices, verifying cook and chill temperatures and conducting product sampling for Listeria. “It has been a unique experience to be on the other side of the razor wire,” he added. “I’ve seen a few fights and a couple of lockdowns, but it’s amazing that a lot of the inmates have become quite knowledgeable with the Code of Federal Regulations and have become very good HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and SSOP (Sanitation Standard Operations Procedures) clerks.”

Seeing this education and commitment gives Cawvey a great sense of gratification.

Proud to be an Inspector

CSI Michael Cawvey at work in processing facility.“I get tremendous satisfaction knowing that I help make sure our nation’s food supply is safe for your family and mine, but I’m only one of the many layers of inspection that regulates the wholesomeness of thefood supply,” he said.

The Hermiston, Ore., native and his wife, Billie, have raised 5 daughters, and said he has always encouraged, and still encourages, his daughters and 14 grandchildren to follow safe handling instructions listed on raw products. He also says he gets a slew of questions from them about food safety and is happy to answer them all.

“My family usually asks me for information about the most recent food recall, cooking temperatures, ‘sell-by’ dates, how a certain product is produced or what really goes into hotdogs,” Cawvey said. “My 26 years at FSIS has afforded me the knowledge in keeping my family safe, and it has empowered me to do the best job that I can for our nation.”

 

Last Modified Oct 17, 2016