Skip to main content

Safety Datapalooza: Opening Up Data To Better Protect Public Health

Posted by Janet Stevens and Christopher Alvares, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in Health and Safety Technology
Jan 14, 2014

An estimated 1 million illnesses can be attributed to Salmonella every year. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently announced its Salmonella Action Plan to help reduce the number of illnesses associated with FSIS-regulated products using new standards, strategies and innovation. When the Agency learned of the upcoming Safety Datapalooza on January 14, Chief Information Officer Janet Stevens knew they wanted in. “As lead of our Agency’s innovation Strategic Goal, I knew the value of leveraging the public through challenges, unconferences and datapaloozas,” said Stevens, “This was a wonderful opportunity to bring together data scientists, technologists and practitioners to generate ideas to help save lives.”

“FSIS produces regular reports on Salmonella contamination in regulated product,” said Christopher Alvares, Director, Data Analysis and Integration Staff, “but the data had never been available in machine-readable format or in a single place.  One of the Agency’s goals, as stated in our Strategic Data Analysis Plan, is to improve the accessibility and usability of FSIS data.  We wanted to know what the public could do with the data to help prevent illnesses and what other data may be needed for better mash-ups and results.” (For more information on FSIS’ data analysis and reporting, see their website.)

They, and you, will get the chance on January 14 as they partner with this office, the Department of Transportation, FEMA and others at the Federal Safety Datapalooza. Be a part of protecting public health and safety!

Category/Topic: Health and Safety Technology