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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: Meryl Silverman, Ph.D. - Assisting Field Staff Drives Technologist’s Role

Meryl Silverman, Ph.D.Meryl Silverman, Ph.D., is a food technologist in FSIS’ Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD), working out of headquarters in Washington, D.C. In her role Silverman works on the Risk, Innovations, and Management Staff, which ensures that OPPD’s policy development initiatives have a strong scientific basis by collaborating with the Office of Public Health Science (OPHS). Her main areas of expertise are in developing policies related to safe production of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products including compliance guidelines and inspection methods.

“My job impacts public health because I provide guidance that helps industry comply with FSIS’ regulatory requirements and production of safe products,” Silverman said. She also provides instructions and assistance to field staffers in verifying industry compliance, especially when corrective actions are warranted due to a deviation in product safety.

Her work was most recently showcased in FSIS’ newly implemented rule requiring labeling of mechanically tenderized beef products. “I think this rule will have a great impact on public health because it gives consumers the information they need to safely prepare mechanically tenderized beef products,” she said.

"My job impacts public health because I provide guidance that helps industry comply with FSIS’ regulatory requirements and production of safe products."

Meryl Silverman, Ph.D.

Silverman was fortunate to be exposed to the field of food science in high school by a family member who worked in the food industry. “I started my career working for a large food company doing product development,” she said. “While I thought that was my dream job, I quickly realized I wanted to do something that had a greater impact on public health. So, I moved back to Washington, D.C., where I decided to work at FSIS after meeting some employees and seeing how passionate they were about their job and FSIS’ mission.”

She came to FSIS in June 2010 as a Presidential Management Fellow, following a stint as a visiting scientist with the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the Food and Drug Administration. She holds a master’s degree in food science from Cornell University, and a doctorate from the University of Maryland.

Silverman’s favorite part of the job is assisting field staff through askFSIS—the Agency’s online repository of answers to frequently asked questions and topics. “I know we have the most dedicated field personnel who are so passionate about FSIS’ mission, and I love being able to provide assistance that hopefully helps them do their job more effectively,” she said. Her message to agency colleagues is “Don’t ever hesitate to ask a question because OPPD is here to help.”

In her off time Silverman loves to cook and tries to do so for her family as much as possible. “I always have food safety on my mind,” she said. “Having young children reminds me of how important our job is to ensure everyone has access to a safe and healthy food supply.” Away from the office and kitchen she enjoys running, listening to music and exploring Washington, D.C., with her husband and two daughters.

 

Last Modified Oct 18, 2016