The team with the Fort McCoy Food Inspection Section is staying busy during the installation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The section is with Public Health Activity-Fort Knox (Ky.) of the U.S. Army Public Health Center. The section helps protect community members from food-borne disease through observing, auditing, and assessing vulnerabilities of food sources at the installation.
Warrant Officer Stephen T. Seefeld, a food-safety officer, described what his team is continuing to do to make sure food is safe for troops at the dining facility, Fort McCoy Commissary, and more.
“We are monitoring the current situation closely and advising on appropriate measures to take to protect the Fort McCoy community,” Seefeld said. “We are providing input based on Army Public Health Center’s guidance for food facilities.
“We closely watch the food being made on the installation to ensure that the proper regulations are followed, and we work behind the scenes,” he said. “Oftentimes, the customer never knows we are there. My team of Soldiers regularly inspects the food deliveries, too, and ensures the food — wherever it is on the installation — is safe.”
Seefeld offered advice on what people should remember about food safety during the pandemic response.
“Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19,” Seefeld said. “However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices — wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly — when handling or preparing foods.
“Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects,” he said. “For that reason, it is critical to follow the four key steps of food safety — clean, separate, cook, and chill.”
Seefeld said his section achieves success with the support of people from other organizations on the installation. “We work very closely with our garrison partners at the Logistics Readiness Center, the Fort McCoy Commissary, and the Fort McCoy Exchange,” he said.
Seefeld’s section has several Soldiers who are helping with mission success every day, following the lead of Public Health Activity-Knox.
“Our mission statement at Public Health Activity-Knox is to provide full-spectrum veterinary service support across a joint and geographically dispersed area of operations while developing technically competent, tactically capable Soldiers and confident leaders who are ready to deploy worldwide in support of contingency operations,” he said.
And as the Army and Fort McCoy response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Seefeld people should remain patient, observe measures, and take care of each other.
“I want to thank everyone for their steadfastness, cooperation, and compassion during these learning and trying times,” Seefeld said.
Learn more about the Army Public Health Center at https://phc.amedd.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx. Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”