Did you know that the Army has Veterinary Food Inspection Specialists that are in charge of food safety, quality assurance, and protection from unintentional or intentional contamination of food, not that animals will consume, but the food that Soldiers and families will eat?
“U.S. Army Veterinary Service (consists of Veterinary Officers, Warrant Officers, Enlisted personnel and Civilians) is the Army’s executive agent for the Department of Defense Veterinary Public and Animal Health,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ann Alexander, Food Safety Officer. “With than being said, the veterinary services is responsible of the food safety and quality assurance mission in support of the US Army installations, US Navy and US Marine Corps.”
The Fort Knox Food Inspection Specialists have an office at the Commissary. Sgt. Nicholas McDonald said their personnel work with the Commissary to ensure that they are following proper guidelines and Defense Commissary Agency directives.
“We use our tools to swab food contact surfaces making sure that they follow their HACP (Hazard Analysis Control Point) which are critical control points,” said McDonald. “When it comes down to food inspection it’s hard to show people what we do, everything is behind the scenes.”
This has led to the Food Inspection Team receiving little recognition for the year round work, outside of their chain of command.
“A lot of the work that they do goes unseen and unrecognized, it’s very vital work that’s not recognized,” said Capt. Lauren Dodd, Clinic Officer In Charge, Public Health Activity Fort Knox. “They do this mission regardless of location and in a deployed environment to make sure that our military forces are sustained. They are here to make sure our military forces remain safe in terms of food defense.”
This includes making sure the food is coming from “Approved Sources.” These food establishments must be inspected by the Federal Agencies such as USDA, USDC, FDA, and other agencies in the government. If a food facility is not inspected by federal agencies, but require inspection (or audit), the Veterinary Officers, Warrant officer and DA Quality Assurance Civilians will conduct an audit in order for them to become an approved source for the military.
The list of establishments from all over the world is listed in the Worldwide Directory of Sanitarily Approved Food Establishments for Armed Forces.
“September is food safety month and we will have presentation boards set up around the community and conduct outreach to the public,” said McDonald. “We want our service members and their families to be reassured that someone is looking at our food to make sure that it is protected and educated them about the in-depth food inspection we provide.”