Eric L. Thompson, Associate
Eric began his career with the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in 1996. He worked the inspection line in red meat and poultry slaughter establishments where he learned animal inspection and product disposition. He worked a processing patrol managing multiple priorities at six plants where he learned simple and complex meat food production and oversight. He joined the FSIS Compliance Program where he learned surveillance and investigation of regulated and in-commerce meat, poultry and processed egg products facilities; investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks; response to natural disasters and intentional contamination events; and the enforcement of FSIS criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions and authorities. He worked as an Enforcement Investigation and Analysis Officer (EIAO) for five years, investigating, documenting, analyzing, and determining the validity of food safety systems at a broad range of establishments. He served as the team leader for the group investigating a 36-million-pound recall resulting in modifications to FSIS regulations. Here he began a long stretch serving as a facilitator between the agency and industry representatives, helping to bring about the successful implementation of many FSIS programs, including the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). He became a Supervisory EIAO for four years, where he was accountable for assessing and maximizing his EIAO’s learning, actions, and abilities. He developed and delivered EIAO training sessions for new initiatives, including sanitary dressing procedures, Listeria monocytogenes, and the Salmonella Initiative Program. He stressed the one team concept, promoting food safety partnerships between EIAO’s and industry personnel. He finished his FSIS career by serving for four years as the Deputy District Manager for the Springdale, AR District Office helping to ensure consistency in its inspection programs. He participated in the development and delivery of training for new initiatives including NPIS and Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli (STEC).
Eric has always been involved in food production, stretching from farm to table. He spent 20 years as part of the successful production of food animals on a ranch in Texas. He worked his way through 20 years of experiences in retail and wholesale facilities. After applying for and receiving a grant of inspection for a Sam’s Club, he decided to apply for employment with FSIS.