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Food Safety Specialist - Alexandria, VA


Job Title: Food Safety Specialist

Department: Department Of Agriculture

Agency: Food and Nutrition Service

Job Announcement Number: FNCS-15-OFS0012DE-MAD


$90,823.00 to $118,069.00 / Per Year


Friday, July 17, 2015 to Thursday, July 30, 2015




Full-Time - Permanent




2 vacancies - Alexandria, VA View Map


US Citizens and Nationals; no prior Federal experience is required.






The mission of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is to increase food security and reduce hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people with access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. FNS provides excellent opportunities for specialized training through its own facilities and outside resources. Career guidance and on- and off-the-job training programs are tailored to an individual employee's needs. If you want to apply your knowledge and skills to food program activities that seek to strengthen America, there is a challenging and rewarding career waiting for you with FNS!

This position is located in Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs. 

This position is being concurrently announced under Merit Promotion procedures on FNCS-15-OFS0012-MAD. Disabled Veterans, candidates with 3 or more years of active duty military service, and candidates eligible for special hiring authorities can apply to the Merit Promotion announcement if they meet criteria for the above and include supporting documents. Depending on a variety of circumstances, telework may be available.


·        Occasional Travel

·        Up to 25% occasional travel may be required.


·        No


·        Depending on a variety of circumstances, telework may be available.

·        FNCS offers alternative and flexible work schedules

·        Click "Print Preview" to review the entire announcement before applying


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As a Food Safety Specialist, the incumbent will:

·        Serve as an expert on agricultural production, food industry practices, and new technologies in food processing as they relate to food safety issues, and is knowledgeable of public health issues relative to food safety in order to identify, summarize, and present possible solutions to issues that might have an impact on the food quality, safety, and acceptability of foods distributed through the FNS nutrition assistance programs.

·        Understand important and emerging food safety issues and research in order to resolve critical situations regarding USDA nutrition assistance program food products and food packages

·        Regularly monitor the complaint system and uses professional judgment to determine the food safety significance of those complaints and the risk of foodborne illness or injury

·        Use knowledge and experience in food safety, agricultural production, and food science and technology to respond to complex and highly technical food safety questions and issues, and develop educational materials on food safety and agricultural issues for a general audience

·        Utilize strong writing and organizational skills to advance project tasks such as planning and coordinating meetings and conference calls or drafting, reviewing and editing documents.

·        Coordinate all food safety-related activities with other agencies

·        Develop educational materials on food safety and agricultural issues for a general audience.


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Basic Requirement: Degree: Major study in an academic field related to the health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the work of the position.

Specialized Experience: You must have one year of experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to the GS-XX grade level in the Federal Service. Experience for this position includes identifying food safety issues, analyzing foodborne illness data, sufficient to provide technical guidance on food safety issues; providing technically accurate written responses to food safety questions, issues, or an occasional critical situation; and assisting with planning, developing, writing, and reviewing educational programs.

NOTES: The experience may have been gained in either the public or private sector. One year of experience refers to full-time work; part-time work is considered on a prorrated basis.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.


If you are newly hired, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS "E-VERIFY" system. Federal law requires the use of E-VERIFY to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. Under this system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.

To be eligible for appointment to this position, the new hire must be cleared to come on board once the results of the fingerprint check, review of the OF-306, Declaration for Federal Employment, and the candidate’s Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (eQIP) entries have been reviewed and determined to be satisfactory. This position requires a favorable credit check as part of the background investigation.


The category rating procedure is used to rank and select eligible candidates. Under category rating, applicants who meet basic minimum qualification requirements established for the position and whose job related competencies have been assessed are ranked by being placed in one of the following categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Preference eligibles are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category.

You will be evaluated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the education, experience, and training you described in your application package, as well as the responses to the Occupational Questionnaire to determine the degree to which you possess the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies listed below:

·        Knowledge of agricultural practices sufficient to analyze food safety and/or health related situations, and make decisions or determinations about such situations augmented by a knowledge of food manufacturing processes, the food industry, and food production processes.

·        Knowledge of food safety and public health practices and principles sufficient to identify foodborne disease risks.

·        Skill in writing scientific, educational and technical reports concisely and effectively in order to disseminate information related to food safety and its impact on public health.

·        Skill in communicating orally and relating effectively with a variety of personnel within and outside the agency, in order to make presentations about food safety issues.

·        Ability to develop educational materials in order to address food safety issues.

We will review your application, including the online Occupational Questionnaire, to ensure you meet the job requirements and assess your ability to perform this job. Before any certificate can be issued to the selecting official, the resume and supporting documents are reviewed by an HR Specialist to ensure that (a) minimum qualification requirements are met and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your answers will be verified against information provided in your online resume and application. Be sure that your resume clearly supports your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted docmentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.

To view the application form, visit:


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The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package.  Explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees at: .



·        We may select from this announcement of any other source to fill one or more vacancies.

·        Travel may be required up to 25% of the time.

·        This is a bargaining designated position.

·        If you are retired from the Federal Government and are selected for this vacancy, your retirement annuity may be offset from your pay.

·        Creditable Service for Annual Leave Accrual:  Newly appointed employees or employees reappointed after a break in service may be eligible to receive credit towards annual leave accrual based on prior work experience.  FNCS may grant service credit for non-Federal work experience or active duty uniformed service prior to the effective date of the employees entry on duty.

·        Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD)

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT: If selected for this position, you will be required to:

·        Complete a one-year probationary period (unless already completed).

·        If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so.

·        Have your salary sent to a financial institution of your choice by Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds transfer.

·        Obtain and use a Government-issued charge card for business-related travel.

·        File a Confidential Disclosure Report within 30 days of appointment and annually from then on.

·        Successfully complete a background investigation

·        Complete a Declaration of Federal Employment to determine your suitability for Federal employment.

·        It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at:



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Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin.
The following instructions outline our application process.

·        You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement. 

·        We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.

·        This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.

Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not already have one) at It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.

Step 2: Create a Resume with USAJOBS or upload a Resume into your USAJOBS account. You may want to customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. In addition, your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).

Step 3: Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required.

You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Simply log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue.




You must submit a complete Application Package, prior to 11:59, ET, on the closing date of this announcement.  The following documents must be submitted for your application package to be considered complete. It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents are received within the required timeframes. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in the mail service, system failure or downtime, etc. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

·        Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number and e-mail address for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications.

·        College Transcripts if education is required for meeting basic qualifications and/or you are substituting education for specialized experience and/or if you are using education to meet the criteria for the quality category. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if selected, an official college transcript will be required prior to entering on duty.

·        DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) if claiming Veterans’ Preference. Veterans claiming 10 point preference must also submit an SF-15 Application for 10-point Veteran Preference. Current Active Duty members must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty under honorable conditions dated within the last 120 days.

·        Other required documents may include:

·        CTAP/ICTAP Required Documentation Reduction-In-Force: Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, or Notice of Proposed Removal; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position you will be separated from. 

·        Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.

·        Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.

NOTE: If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. Please verify that documents you are uploading from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded resumes must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX).


FNCS Operations Team
Phone: 202-720-6617
Fax: 202-720-5124
Agency Information:
FNCS Operations Team
1400 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC,
Fax: 202-720-5124


If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful,  2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and  3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Normally, a final job offer to the selected candidate is made within 30-60 days after the issuance of the certificate.



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