Ensuring the safety of Missouri’s agricultural products, from grains to milk to fresh produce to meat, is a top priority. Each of the Department’s five divisions works to ensure that consumers continue to enjoy a safe, wholesome and affordable food supply, as a healthy food system begins on the farm and ends with healthy communities. From the Animal Health Division to Plant Industries to Agriculture Business Development, the Missouri Department of Agriculture is focusing on the safety of our food, working to raise awareness and strengthen food safety efforts among producers, processors and consumers.
What does food safety mean?
Food safety means producing, processing and preparing all foods in ways to prevent food borne illness and disease. From pet foods to fresh produce, the Missouri Department of Agriculture takes food safety very seriously and is working to help everyone affected by food safety learn more.
How is the Missouri Department of Agriculture involved in food safety?
Missouri’s agricultural products, from raw ingredients to finished products ready for consumption, are key to food safety. The Missouri Department of Agriculture uses many tools, from outreach and training to inspections and regulations, to ensure that food is safe and wholesome.
- Dairy Programs – Missouri’s State Milk Board oversees more than 1500 milk producers and processors within its authority to promulgate rules, permit, license and certify milk and milk product handlers, test facilities, vehicles and products and to condemn illegal dairy products.
- Farmers’ Market Handbook – Farmers’ market managers, vendors and visitors can use the Missouri Farmers’ Market Handbook to learn about local and state food handling, safety and sale regulations.
- Feed and Seed Inspection Program – Through Missouri’s program, facilities producing livestock feed are inspected in accordance with FDA Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) guidelines. Facilities producing food for humans and livestock are also reviewed in accordance with Good Management Practices (GMP) inspection guidelines.
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Program – Through the Department’s Plant Industries Division, producers and processors handling fresh produce can participate in voluntary USDA Good Handling Practices and Good Agricultural Practices (GHP/GAP) audits of their operations.
To learn more about GHP/GAP, visit the program online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/gapghp.
- Missouri Egg Law – Under Missouri’s Egg Law, the Department provides rules for the proper packing, storing and labeling eggs, including temperature requirements for transportation. Missouri also adopts USDA standards for grading and selling eggs, ensuring that producers and consumers can count on consistent marketing and quality throughout the state.
- Meat and Poultry Inspection Program – Missouri’s program provides inspections and compliance reviews at a level equivalent to USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service reviews of processing facilities selling meat products within the state. The Department also provides assistance for facilities and individuals developing Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans to improve their operations.
- Poultry Health & Improvement Program – Missouri participates in the National Poultry Improvement Program, providing inspections and guidance for producers on biosecurity, animal health, sanitation and assisting with consumer education efforts ranging from properly handling poultry at home to preventing disease on the farm.
- Training Opportunities – In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Food and Drug Administration, the Missouri Department of Agriculture is working to make more training opportunities related to identifying and responding to food safety risks available for producers, processors, inspectors and emergency responders.
Want to learn more?
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, University of Missouri Cooperative Extension Service and federal agencies also offer great food safety resources.
- FoodSafety.gov - http://www.foodsafety.gov/
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service – Ask Karen! - http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ask_karen
- DHSS Food Safety Page - http://health.mo.gov/safety/foodsafety/index.php
- Missouri Food Recalls - http://health.mo.gov/safety/foodrecalls/index.php
- University of Missouri Extension Food Safety Resources - http://extension.missouri.edu/main/DisplayCategory.aspx?C=195
- Report Food Safety Concerns - https://ccms.fsis.usda.gov/