Job Specifications

Meat Program Section Chief

Job Code: 306900

Pay Plan: Classified

Pay Grade: 27

Occupational Category: Protective Services

Effective Date: 08/04/2019

Class Definition:

Supervisory, administrative, technical and regulatory compliance work at a professional level for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food Safety Consumer Protection Division, Meat and Poultry Inspection Service. Work involves administration of a regulatory program and coordination of program-wide implementation of state and federal laws and regulations to maintain a designation from the USDA Secretary of Agriculture of at least “equal-to”  the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), as well as other duties typical of a state supervisor.

This position is considered the subject matter expert in Vermont for USDA FSIS policy regarding the state meat and poultry inspection program. This work is directed at protecting public health by ensuring that regulated and exempt Meat and Poultry establishments in Vermont produce a safe product, by ensuring truthful labeling of meat and poultry products, by providing technical assistance to producers, processors and retailers regarding the inspection process, and working in conjunction with the Meat Safety Compliance and Enforcement Specialist to ensure state-wide application. This position is also responsible for maintaining and implementing the Cooperative Agreement with the USDA FSIS for the Cross Utilization Program. Supervision is exercised over the Meat Program Supervisor, and two upper-level specialist positions. Work is performed under the general direction of the Deputy Division Director/Assistant State Veterinarian and in coordination with other sections of the Food Safety and Consumer Protection Division of the Agency.

Examples of Work:

Plans, develops and directs a comprehensive, multi-faceted state meat and poultry regulatory program. Annually prepares the state self-assessment submission to the USDA FSIS as required to maintain the program’s “equal-to” status.  Maintains a liaison relationship to the Federal supervisory personnel in Vermont, and prepares the weekly schedule of assignments of state food safety specialists to state and federal establishments. Develops, reviews and promulgates meat inspection laws, regulations and procedures. Testifies before legislative committees as a subject matter expert and to ensure statutory language remains consistent with Federal Acts and regulations. Develops and provides oversight of the Meat section budget. Serves as the state coordinator for Public Health Data Communication Infrastructure System, and the obtaining of federal credentialing for program employees. Represents the Meat Inspection Program at both government and industry meetings, and may provide trainings.  Reviews prospective new establishments to determine if they meet the requirements for licensing and inspection, and provides technical assistance as necessary. Coordinates the response to complaints from industry personnel and consumers with the Meat Safety Compliance Enforcement Specialist. Ensures the standards of federal civil rights requirements are met. May assume the duties and responsibilities of the Deputy Director in their absence. Performs related duties as required.

Environmental Factors:

Work is performed in both office and field settings, with a substantial amount of travel involved. Private means of transportation must be available for required travel. Field settings may include meat processing facilities and slaughterhouses, which may present a risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases. Hazards such as slippery floors, potentially dangerous animals, and heavy overhead objects falling may be encountered.  An incumbent may encounter disgruntled industry constituents and/or strong differences of opinion which must be dealt with in a constructive manner. May be required to perform inspections of regulated facilities. Some evening or weekend work may be required.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Considerable knowledge of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA), and associated regulations, and a working knowledge of the science and policies contained within them.

Considerable knowledge of state laws, rules, and standards pertaining to meat and poultry processing.

Considerable knowledge of the operation of slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, including methods and equipment and inspection processes and procedures, refrigeration systems, wastewater systems and jurisdictions associated, systems associated with solid waste handling and jurisdictions.

Considerable knowledge of, or ability to learn, personnel supervisory principles and practices.

Extensive communication skills for a wide audience, including congressional offices, the state Legislature, multiple government agency representatives, the general public, and foreign individuals.

Working knowledge of and ability to perform the duties of the Food Safety Specialists

Working knowledge of Health Department rules and regulations related to dual jurisdiction establishments

Working knowledge of federal and state labeling policies and procedures for meat and poultry products.

Ability to learn federal and Vermont laws and regulations relating to the movement, sale, and disposal of livestock and poultry.

Ability to work well with the public.

Ability to effectively resolve conflict.

Ability to develop and implement educational and technical programs in support of the meat industry.

Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and to work independently with little supervision.

Ability to write comprehensive reports.

Act as liaison for State Meat and Poultry Inspection with USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USDA Enforcement and Litigation Division (ELD) Federal State Audit Branch (FSAB), and multiple other Federal and State Agencies.

Daily interaction with Meat Inspection personnel concerning activities and situations encountered during inspections.

Explain requirements for both inspected and exempt activities to insurance companies looking to provide coverage for individual producers.

Ability to explain licensing and exemptions available for all businesses ranging from commercial slaughter and processors, custom operators, retailers, animal food manufacturers, 4D handlers, renderers, individual meat and/or poultry producers as well as available markets under each licensing categories.

Minimum Qualifications

Associate's degree or equivalent or higher in food science, microbiology, biology, animal science, a medical field, or a closely related field, AND four (4) years or more of experience as a governmental meat or other food safety program regulator, or an owner, operator or manager of a meat/poultry establishment.

OR

Three (3) or more years’ experience at the Food Safety Specialist II or higher position

Note: Certification as an accredited meat inspector in a state or federal meat inspection program comparable to Vermont is considered qualifying as a Food Safety Specialist II position.

Preferred Qualifications:

Preference will be given to applicants who have at least one year of personnel supervisory experience.

Special Requirements:

Incumbents are required to secure Federal Credentials by passing a federal background check and fingerprinting.