April 30, 2004
April 30, 2004 -- A new $1.65 million Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility that will conduct analyses on a wide range of potential biological threat agents opened April 22, 2004, in Athens, Ga.
Facilities with the designation BSL-3 use pathogens in research and diagnostic activities that could constitute a threat to either human health or productivity of the agriculture system. BSL-3 facilities prevent contamination by using a broad range of techniques and barriers, including tightly controlled and restricted access to facilities, techniques that require handling of infectious materials in sealed containers or biosafety cabinets, special clothing and advanced training.
In addition to the Athens facility, FSIS has four laboratories staffed by about 200 microbiologists, chemists and veterinary pathologists. Three of the labs, located in Athens, Ga., St. Louis, Mo., and Alameda, Calif., conduct continuous regulatory testing on meat, poultry and egg products.
FSIS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s public health agency and is primarily responsible for ensuring the safety of the nation?s meat, poultry and egg supply.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers (304) 647-9981