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Faces of Food Safety: Charlean Youngblood – Food Safety Advocate at Work and in Her Community

SCSI Charlean Youngblood (pictured, standing)
SCSI Charlean Youngblood (pictured, standing) reminding inspectors at Establishment P-308 in Morton, Mississippi, about the importance of proper temperatures for cooking and storage of food. Pictured, seated, from left: Barbara Harris, Allison Thomas, Katrina Sanders and Willie Wells. Photo by Dr. Robert Kennedy, OFO.

As an FSIS Supervisory Consumer Safety Inspector (SCSI) in a poultry slaughter plant in the Jackson District, Charlean Youngblood supervises 23 employees, including Food Inspectors, Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSI), and intermittent and relief staff. A typical day at the plant for Youngblood begins at 6:00 a.m. and includes greeting everyone, performing operation checks and line tests to verify smooth operation within the plant, completing food safety checks to resolve any potential problem areas, giving line breaks to the inspectors and addressing any unforeseen issues that arise, such as assigning a relief worker to fill in for an ill inspector. Youngblood records the minutes for all USDA plant weekly meetings and makes them available to other supervisors and plants through the Public Health Information System. She also prepares mid-year progress reviews, assigns annual ratings and training, and keeps food inspectors informed on current and future changes in FSIS notices and directives.

“I not only think about what I eat but what the public eats, as well.”

Charlean Youngblood

34 Years and Counting

Driven by FSIS’ mission, Youngblood recently celebrated her 34th year with the Agency. A caring person by nature, she genuinely likes ensuring the public receives safe products. Youngblood says, “I not only think about what I eat but what the public eats, as well.”  Because she loves what she does, she has no plans to slow down. She derives both personal and professional satisfaction from her work. She states, “It makes me feel good to help co-workers, subordinates and the community on a daily basis.” Her job gives her a sense of pride by ensuring food is handled in a proper and safe way. 

Youngblood exemplifies the core values of our Agency. She enjoys setting an example by always being at work on time, being professional in what she does, and working well with others. She also takes responsibility for her work and her actions, demonstrating she is both Accountable and Collaborative. Says Youngblood, “FSIS has empowered me to be successful through my on-the-job training” and by participating in supervisory training in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and annual refresher training online. She has also completed coursework in Food Science and Poultry Science at Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University and East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi. A problem-solver, Youngblood is solutions-oriented, finding answers and results the inspectors can agree on. For example, if two inspectors need to be out on the same day and she has one helper — a relief inspector, regular line inspector or an intermittent part-time worker — she will work with the inspectors to find out if the times they will be out would allow for them to share the helper. The helper could work the morning shift for one inspector and the afternoon shift for the other.      

Teamwork is important to Youngblood, and she makes every food inspector feel part of the team by celebrating birthdays with a card and everyone bringing a dish to share.

Someone You Can Count on

Youngblood’s career in food safety began as a trimmer in a poultry processing plant, the largest employer in Forest, Mississippi. She was encouraged to become an inspector by an FSIS veterinarian who was assigned to the plant. She took the civil service exam and joined the Agency as a GS-8 slaughter inspector. She was later promoted to SCSI in 2010.

Jackson District Manager Larry Davis said, “Ms. Youngblood is always rock solid in all aspects of being a supervisor; she makes sound decisions and gives great advice. She is a great asset to the in-plant inspection team, the Jackson District, and the Agency as a whole. She is dependable, always willing to go the extra mile. She comes in early and stays late as she makes sure the in-plant management team is prepared for the next day and the third shift is ready to go.” Her favorite part of the job is interacting with employees, motivating and encouraging them. When relief inspectors at her plant learned that CSI-8 positions would open in nearby states, Youngblood encouraged them to apply and several were selected. Their successes motivate her to continue to mentor and encourage others.

A Caring Person — at Work and in the Community 

Youngblood’s outreach work includes spearheading her plant’s participation in the annual Feds Feed Families campaign in support of the We Care Mission and serving as chairperson for her church’s collection of funds to help feed local families in need. Youngblood is involved in many activities at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, where she serves as a Sunday school teacher for adults and president of the Home Mission Ladies, who visit the sick in their community.

Food Safety Advocate

When her two adult children, and four grandchildren who range in age from 15 to 36, were old enough to start cooking, Youngblood began teaching them about food safety. Her son, Darrell, uses that knowledge every day in his role as a supervisor in a bakery. Outside of work, she shares her knowledge of food safety with the ladies at her church as they volunteer preparing food for dinners, funerals and other events. She also likes to discuss food safety with friends at barbecues and other get-togethers where she stresses the importance of using a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked to the proper temperature and safe to eat. Youngblood also enjoys cooking, singing with her church choir and traveling.

 

Last Modified Oct 04, 2019