United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
HomeAbout FSISNews & EventsFact SheetsCareersFormsHelpContact UsEn Espanol
Search FSIS
Search Tips
A to Z Index
Browse by Audience. The following script allows you to access a dropdown menu, increasing the navigation options across the Web site
Browse by Subject
Food Safety Education
Regulations & Policies
FSIS Recalls
Food Defense & Emergency Response
Codex Alimentarius
About FSIS
Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education
The Office of Catfish Inspection Programs (OCIP) develops policies to implement the new requirement for USDA inspection of farm-raised catfish.
Catfish Docket No. FSIS 2008-0031 (PDF Only) Mandatory Inspection of Catfish and Catfish Products (Advance copy of document submitted to Office Federal Register. May be subject to minor changes.) Access additional information
Old-fashioned dial phone Contact Information for OCIP
Phone, fax, and mailing addresses for key personnel within this program.
askFSIS an Inspection-Related Question Questions about Inspection?
Use askFSIS to find answers, submit new questions, track responses, and request notification of updates.
On June 18, 2008 the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the "2008 Farm Bill," was signed into law (PL 110-234). This law amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) to make catfish an amenable species under the FMIA. The legislation requires FSIS to establish a new program for inspection of "catfish." The Office of Catfish Inspection Programs (OCIP) was created to develop and manage a model, science-based, pond-to-plate inspection program.

OCIP's mission is to establish and maintain a science-based inspection system for the consuming public that provides regulatory oversight for catfish and catfish products. OCIP will monitor this system and verify that products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled. OCIP inspection activities will take place throughout all aspects of catfish production: the ponds where they are grown; the transportation vehicles in which they are carried; and the processing plants where they are slaughtered, processed, and packaged. OCIP works in concert with all of the FSIS program areas as well as, other USDA agencies including the: Foreign Agricultural Service, Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. In addition, OCIP collaborates with other Executive Branch agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to ensure that its program truly protects the public health of the American people.

OCIP is currently developing the policy, strategic implementation plans, and methodologies needed to regulate this unique program. Once the mandate has been implemented, the offices in the field will handle the day-to-day domestic and international activities of catfish inspection, while coordination and administrative activities will take place at headquarters.

This new, cutting-edge program is the first continuous mandatory inspection program for any kind of fish, and offers FSIS a chance to pioneer unexplored territory in our marrying of public health and aquaculture. The development of catfish inspection is certainly an exciting opportunity for the Agency, and the dynamics of OCIP have indeed been of interest to food safety professionals.

OCIP Vision:
To protect the public health of American catfish consumers through its model, science-based, pond-to-plate inspection program.

OCIP Values:
  • Integrity: OCIP holds the ethical and moral principles of FSIS and the Federal government in high regard, and insists these standards be upheld in all of its transactions.
  • Diversity: OCIP will ensure that its workforce accurately reflects the diversity (ethnicity, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.) of the American public. Diversity in OCIP is essential to the free-flow of ideas within its programs.
  • Tolerance: OCIP promotes a work environment of tolerance and understanding between its employees, and of its customers and stakeholders, regardless of background, beliefs, or agenda. OCIP employees seek to understand alternative points of view so that they foster a tolerant environment and can draw on those points of view to develop superior work products.
  • Accountability: OCIP can only achieve its mission through accuracy and a system of checks and balances. Through the use of the OCIP Strategic Plan, the OCIP Annual Performance Plan, performance measures, and performance standards, it will ensure that all employees are accountable in executing the FSIS mission.
  • Responsibility: OCIP takes full responsibility for all its actions, and all employees in OCIP are expected to manage their work and results, communicate with the appropriate FSIS staff, and achieve the result for which they are accountable.
  • Objectivity: OCIP promotes a culture where results and opinions are based on sound science and objective facts. Performance ratings are directly attached to measurable results, and employees must consider all opinions and weigh positives and negatives before creating policy and making decisions.
  • Determination: Achieving OCIP's mission may at times present obstacles, both expected and unexpected. However, employees will remain determined to achieve the mission.
  • Excellence: OCIP's products and work will be efficient, effective, and of the highest quality.

OCIP Contact Information:
Dr. Quita Bowman Blackwell
Catfish Inspection Staff
Food Safety and Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture
202-720-9866 main office
202-205-0381 fax

Last Modified: February 18, 2011



About FSIS
  Structure & Organization
   Faces of Food Safety
   FSIS Biographies
   Associated Agencies & Partners
   Cooperative Agreements
   Agency History
   Strategic Planning
FSIS Home | USDA.gov | FoodSafety.gov | Site Map | A to Z Index | Policies & Links | Significant Guidance
FOIA | Accessibility Statement | Privacy Policy | Non-Discrimination Statement | Information Quality | USA.gov | Whitehouse.gov