Joe Cordray, Iowa State University, Department of Animal Science

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Joe Cordray Ph.D. | Iowa State University

The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is that part of USDA that is responsible for meat and poultry inspection. FSIS has worked very hard to make available a wide assortment of valuable information on their website:


On the Home Page under Popular Topics, you will find links to several topics including: Find Resources for Small Plants, and Meat, Poultry and Egg Product Inspection Directory. In a bar underneath the scrolling pictures are links to Regulations and Policies, Recalls, and Science and Data. (One of the scrolling pictures contains the toll-free number for the FSIS Small Plant Help Desk). The upper right corner of the Home Page has a search engine window where you can type in a request to locate information on a particular topic. In the top right corner of the Home Page are two links I have found very useful; AskKaren and askFSIS.

Ask Karen

Ask Karen is designed to provide information for consumers about preventing foodborne illnesses, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products. Many meat processors have used it to obtain answers to customers' questions or retrieve information to help train employees.

ask FSIS

ask FSIS provides answers to questions about inspection-related policies, programs, systems and procedures. It has a window where you can ask a specific question. If there is not an answer to your specific question in their library of answers, you have the opportunity to ask a new question. In the upper right corner of the ask FSIS opening page are tabs where you can Log In/Sign Up to ask a question. The first time you use this feature you will need to Sign Up; after that you Log In. is a valuable resource. If you have never used it give it a try.