USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently announced the opening of its new small plant help-desk, which will provide for operators of small and very small meat, poultry and processed egg products establishments seeking help with agency requirements with direct access to knowledgeable staff specialists.
The help-desk also will provide assistance to state and local food regulatory agencies, FSIS' partners in keeping meat, poultry and egg products safe for consumers.
The new help-desk will support USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative by helping small processors to reduce the time and expense of dealing with agency requirements. "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" is designed to continue the national conversation about developing local and regional food systems and finding ways to support small and mid-sized producers.
It emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers, building on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides additional flexibility for USDA programs to promote local foods. More information on the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative can be found at: www.usda.gov/knowyourfarmer .
The FSIS small plant help-desk will serve as a "one-stop shop" for plant owners and operators with questions. More than 90% of the 6,000 plants inspected by FSIS are small or very small.
The help-desk is open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. To speak to a staff specialist during this time, call 1-877-FSISHelp (1-877-374-7435). Customers may also contact the help-desk by email at InfoSource@fsis.usda.gov.
Source: USDA News Room