AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – The Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Dianna Bourassa has been appointed as a national food safety representative by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. A 20-year veteran in food safety, Bourassa now serves as a member of National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI).
The NACMPI is responsible for advising the secretary of agriculture on current matters pertaining to Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection programs. Bourassa will help guide food safety policies that influence national United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. Bourassa said she is excited about the opportunity to join an esteemed group of food safety professionals.
“As a member of the NACMPI, I look forward to the opportunity to work with FSIS on current food safety challenges facing our poultry industry in Alabama and across the U.S.,” Bourassa said.
The Newest Member
Bourassa began her role with Alabama Extension and Auburn University’s College of Agriculture in 2016 as assistant professor and Extension poultry specialist in the department of poultry science. Since her appointment to Extension, she has specialized in poultry processing, egg formation and safety, food safety and regulatory compliance.
“Dr. Bourassa is an active member of our poultry Extension team who contributes to all aspects of the team’s programs,” said Becky Barlow, Alabama Extension assistant director for agriculture, forestry and natural resource (AFNR) programming. “She is known for her expertise in commercial poultry processing and food safety. We are excited that she has this opportunity to represent the industry and provide this service to the nation.”
A Proven Candidate
Bourassa also serves as coordinator of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) for Alabama in coordination with FSIS. This role has provided her with the opportunity to work with smaller production plants. In this role, she instructs companies on the safe production of poultry products for families across the country.
“Dr. Bourassa has been successful in developing and implementing educational workshops for clientele in the poultry industry,” said Bill Dozier, head of Auburn’s department of poultry science. “She has developed a regional and emerging national reputation in the area of poultry processing.”
This experience comes with great benefit when considering the demand of the state’s poultry supply. As Alabama’s top agriculture commodity, the poultry industry (i.e., broiler chickens and eggs) generates more than $15 billion in annual revenue. This adds more reinforcement for the need for guidance regarding food safety and biosecurity.
The poultry production system is complex as well as fragile. The expertise and recommendations from this committee benefits food safety programs every day. As a result, everyone is provided a healthy and safe poultry product. Bourassa and the advisory committee expect to continue their reputation of moving the poultry industry forward in 2023.
To learn more about current U.S. food safety regulations and policies, visit the FSIS website. Find research pertaining to food safety on Alabama Extension’s website, www.aces.edu.