Faces of Food Safety: Meet Joseph Smith of the FSIS

Joseph Smith, a client security inspector (CSI) within the Chicago District, has been with FSIS for nearly ten years. He started his profession with the company in February 2013 as an intermittent worker — working solely when an inspector was out sick or on annual go away — and has labored his method as much as his present CSI place.

Life as a CSI

In his position as a CSI, Smith helps make sure the business provide of meat and poultry is secure, healthful and accurately packaged and labeled by finishing duties recognized by FSIS’ Public Well being Info System (PHIS). Duties are populated via a PHIS algorithm for various processing classes and Smith inspects totally different elements of the institution’s meals security system to make sure they meet regulatory necessities. PHIS routinely sends Smith up to date duties to be accomplished based mostly on adjustments in manufacturing.

Figuring out tips on how to full these duties is a results of his Inspection Strategies coaching and years of expertise as each meals inspector and CSI. In his earlier position as a meals inspector, Smith checked each single merchandise that got here earlier than the inspection stand. As a CSI, he’s extra targeted on the inspection of the meals security system being carried out within the institution — the

Hazard Evaluation and Essential Management Level (HACCP) system. He additionally ensures compliance with sanitation normal working procedures and sanitation efficiency requirements to forestall contamination or adulteration of product.

At all times Studying

Smith believes persevering with training is necessary and has taken courses to additional his information in meals security. This consists of on-line programs via AgLearn (USDA’s on-line studying system), and a HACCP course via North Carolina State College. “I like to be taught — once you be taught, you may educate. If you educate, you be taught,” mentioned Smith. By way of the years, Smith has had a number of mentors that offered steering, beginning with Dr. Michael Marciniak when he was an intermittent worker to his present mentor, FLS Dr. Heath Williams. “Each mentor had one thing to show me,” mentioned Smith. As he has grown in his information, he in flip, has been in a position to assist others.

Smith contends that FSIS’ finest useful resource is its folks. He explains, “I nonetheless bear in mind my on-the-job coaching with Inspector Ryan Frisch. He requested me a query and I gave the proper response, however he simply checked out me for what felt like an eternity. I panicked and he advised me I wanted to belief my very own judgement — a lesson nicely discovered. Now I do this to these I educate.”


Smith believes teamwork is an important a part of any meals security profession. “Everybody comes collectively as a staff to attain the unifying aim of meals security. I’m fortunate to have labored with a neighborhood of supportive folks with shared beliefs,” mentioned Smith. He explains that communication is vital to figuring out and correcting issues when one thing goes fallacious, and to effecting change to forestall future issues.

Supervisory Public Well being Veterinarian Dr. Sharon Weatherspoon is Smith’s supervisor. Dr. Weatherspoon mentioned, “Joseph Smith is undoubtedly certainly one of a sort. He’s energetic, talkative and actually enthusiastic about his work. Joe has change into more and more receptive to my encouragement to search out options that maintain the plant accountable to meals security. This collaborative effort permits him to develop as a CSI and empowers him to make sound selections.”

Smith’s Future with FSIS

Smith units targets for himself. In lower than ten years, his FSIS profession has progressed from intermittent worker to meals inspector, to CSI. Whereas he enjoys his present work as a CSI, he hopes to change into an enforcement, investigations and evaluation officer inside the subsequent few years. Smith will work in direction of incomes a promotion to FLS, and finally, a deputy district supervisor place; maybe sometime even, the Secretary of Agriculture. Stated Smith, “I need to pursue a continuing development to have an effect on change in a constructive method. The upper I’m able to go, the extra I can assist FSIS reach our mission.”

Household Time

Smith and his spouse of seven years, Amber, have a three-year-old daughter, Arya. Whereas he plans to show meals security to his daughter when she is a bit older, he concedes that the extent of his meals security recommendation for Arya up to now has been, “Don’t eat that; it fell on the ground.”

He acted in a number of homicide thriller occasions organized by his spouse Amber and hosted by the North Olmsted Kiwanis Membership to boost cash for a number of neighborhood playgrounds. Smith additionally enjoys attending medieval occasions along with his household. Most notably, Smith was the Higher Cleveland Volunteers Cleveland Pickle Fest®, pickle consuming champ for 2021. View Smith’s Cleveland Pickle Fest® commercial to see what all the joy is about!

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