September 15, 2017

 

 USDA recruiting for slaughter inspection

Posted Aug. 30, 2017

The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service posted flyers everywhere at AVMA Convention 2017, this past July in Indianapolis, as part of a hiring event to recruit veterinarians for slaughter inspection. Meeting ahead of the convention, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a policy on "The Importance of Veterinarians in Food Safety."

Delegates also approved a policy on "The Importance of Federal Veterinarians in Emergency Response" to support USDA recruitment of veterinarians for disease response and other emergency response. The National Association of Federal Veterinarians submitted both policies as resolutions.

The policy on food safety reads as follows:

The Importance of Veterinarians in Food Safety

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) supports the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service Public Health Veterinary workforce hiring efforts by recommending that FSIS implement the three actions below to resolve the recruiting and retention issues when hiring of veterinarians in FSIS:

  1. All slaughter plants must be under the direct supervision of a Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV); Federal veterinarians, as animal and public health professionals, are uniquely equipped to lead the inspection and food safety processes necessary to protect Americans' food source;
  2. Remuneration and incentives of SPHVs must be immediately improved to be commensurate with their extensive education and expertise and to be competitive with the private sector;
  3. Administrative time and support for annual professional continuing education and training are essential to retaining SPHVs.

Dr. Michael J. Gilsdorf, NAFV senior staff veterinarian, said in a statement after the convention, "NAFV has been working towards resolving these veterinary workforce issues for several years. It wasn't until FSIS started placing lay inspectors into vacant veterinary positions that NAFV members decided to start working outside the agency to gather support to help FSIS permanently resolve the chronic Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) vacancy issues."

The current vacancy rate for FSIS public health veterinarians is 12 percent, Dr. Gilsdorf said.

The policy on emergency response reads as follows:

The Importance of Federal Veterinarians in Emergency Response

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) supports the recruitment and retention of veterinarians in the Federal Government to build a veterinary emergency response surge capacity. Further, the AVMA supports providing veterinary specialty and board certification pay for federal veterinarians, as well as recruitment and retention incentives to address this need.

Related JAVMA content:

Proposals push for more veterinarians for slaughter inspection, disease response (July 1, 2017)

House asks for review of unlicensed practice (March 1, 2017)