The proposed program supported by this Grant would allow two major initiatives that would be unable to be pursued without the Grant: 1) new cutting edge use of IT equipment to allow for peak efficiency and effectiveness in the inspections completed by the staff completing food, milk, egg and fruit and vegetable inspections 2) hire staff ( an food sanitarian) to work with the Program Specialist to look at the inspection process in an innovative way to assure that the software recently built is being utilized, the innovate IT equipment is being utilized to its full capacity and allow training of the staff in these two areas
The goal of the Bureau of Food Safety and Labs is to protect the public by building the state and national food safety system. The PA Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services, has a complement including, a Bureau Director, an Assistant Bureau Director, a Food Program Manager, three Program Specialists (Retail Foods, Shellfish, &Local Health Support), 7 field supervisors, and 60 field inspection staff working in the retail and manufactured food programs. The present inventory of food establishments for the inspection staff include 2325 food processors, 1225 home food processors, and 1150 warehouse / distribution establishments, for a total of 4700 manufactured food establishments and over 3600 inspections per year. In addition this same staff is responsible for annual inspections of 30,000 retail establishments and 350 seasonal farm labor camps. We have to utilize the staff in the most effective manner possible by using a combination of technology and training. Field inspection staff currently is assigned an inventory of up to 800-900 facilities for which they are responsible for, including retail and manufactured food establishments. This grant would allow a project to provide cutting edge IT equipment to work with our recently developed software system PA Food Safety. Also, the inspection process and data entry process would be evaluated. Training for improvement would be provided.