Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one of the largest federal agencies in the U.S. It has many different subdivisions. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is one of them. FSIS is responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, healthy, and correctly labeled and packaged. Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced an enormous bill called the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007. Nutrition, conservation, energy, producer income protection, rural development, trade, forestry, and livestock are the major provisions that are part of this massive farm bill. The purpose of this paper is to examine how a policy issue is introduced, planned, and carried out, along with the differences among the state inspections and federal inspection techniques to show how effective they are.

In the livestock provision, it stated that this bill would remove all federal inspection of meat and poultry products done by the USDA-FSIS in the U.S. Inspection would then have been done by individual states with their own individual agendas. This would have lowered food safety standards by encouraging meat and poultry producers to forgo rigorous safety enforcement and opt for less stringent state guidelines. The bill was found to be very objectionable and not in the public interest. The consequences of such an issue could have a huge impact to both the food industry and the citizens of the world since the U.S. is a major exporter of beef and poultry.

The role that the FSIS plays in the U.S. food industry is invaluable. FSIS has come a long way since the establishment of the Federal Meat Inspection Act in 1906. The processes of meat and poultry inspections have improved over the years. Systems like the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system are used to control the full range of physical, chemical and biological factors that affect the safety of a food product. HACCP is a preventive system in which safety is designed into the food formulation and the production process. Recent occurrences related to inhumane handling of animals have also led the FSIS to implement strict rules for slaughter houses to abide by. Because of the tremendous impact USDA-FSIS plays in meat and poultry inspection, letting it go now will create too many problems. These sorts of problems had led to the ongoing debates among senators and representatives in Congress and eventually reassessing and amending the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007.