United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
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Foodborne illness outbreaks over the previous years alerted the Food Safety and Inspection Service to the need for fundamental change of its inspection program. FSIS began to focus its regulatory program more intensely on public health. On July 25, 1996, FSIS published the final rule (Part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, PDF Only) on Pathogen Reduction and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system, known as HACCP. In the preamble to the rule, FSIS stated its goal is to protect the public health by significantly reducing the prevalence of foodborne hazards from meat, poultry, and egg products to the maximum extent possible, based on available science and technology.
FSIS: A Public Health Agency
The Food Safety and Inspection Service is an organization of public health regulatory professionals that protect the health and ensure the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products. The Federal Meat and Inspection Act, Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act are the tools that we use to improve public health.

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FSIS & Food Security
FSIS provides all segments of the population, including meat, poultry, and egg products plants, information they need to ensure that the products they produce and consume remain safe and secure.
At FSIS, public health is defined as improving the health status of all citizens. This includes protecting, promoting and enhancing the health status of not just the individual, but populations.

By carrying out these functions, FSIS is protecting the public from foodborne illnesses which is essential to our mission. Protecting public health also means ensuring security of our food from biological, chemical, and radiological contamination. This is a vital component of homeland security.

FSIS performs three vital functions in carrying out its public health mission:
  1. assessment,
  2. policy development, and
  3. assurance.

Assessment simply means identifying public health problems. Assessment activities include surveillance, collecting and interpreting data, and monitoring and forecasting trends.

Once the assessment is done, we then develop and implement policies that reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. Policy development activities include planning and priority-setting, development of regulations and other policy vehicles, workforce training, distribution of public information, and encouragement of public and private sector cooperation.

Assurance means making sure the job gets done. We need to assure the public that FSIS is a credible public health agency. We do this by seeing to the implementation of legislative mandates as well as regulatory responsibilities. One way we do this is through a strong inspection program. We need to assure the American public that the USDA mark of inspection found on meat, poultry and egg products means what it says.
Science-based Inspection System



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