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Department focuses on food, animals

Protecting the food people eat is one of the missions for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

This is really important to Ray Hankes, division manager for food safety and animal protection at IDOA.

“We’ve got 85 field meat inspectors in the state and 12 supervisors,” Hankes explained. “Any animal that goes through one of our state plants has to be inspected by a meat inspector.”

Hankes says there is always a misconception out there that some animals are inspected and some are not. If an IDOA seal is located on the package, that means the food has gone through a complete inspection from the time it was unloaded until it was packaged.

The food safety and animal protection division of IDOA also handles veterinary inspections of animals. During the Illinois State Fair in August, the department had no issues checking in animals. Thousands of animals come into the fair each year.

“Our vet staff was responsible for checking in all the animals, making sure they were healthy and making sure their certificate of veterinary inspection health papers met the requirements,” Hankes added.

The IDOA website is very interactive and users can go to the drop down menus to obtain a license to sell eggs or to become a state-inspected meat plant. The division licenses all of the pet facilities and animal shelters in the state and issues more than 30 different licenses.

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