Taylor is my hero, and the hero of many others also. And yet there are
those who probably cringed when it was announced that he was coming back
to DC politics as the Senior Advisor to the Commissioner at the FDA.
Mike's name was tossed around in many circles as the next Undersecretary
for Food Safety at the USDA. Obviously this announcement confirms what we
have all been hearing---that he was not going to get to sit in the vacant
Undersecretary's chair again any time soon. And that just might be too
bad, from my humble, non-partisan view point. I would like to hear why he
was not named. Who influenced who, and why?
say Mr. Taylor is my hero, it is
because of a very short speech he made at an AMI meeting. At this
meeting, he basically caught most of the red meat world totally off guard
when he announced that he was declaring E coli 0157:H7 an adulterant in
ground beef. It was a very brave
step forward for an Administrator of FSIS who was also serving as the
Interim Undersecretary for Food Safety at the USDA. In fact, he probably
negated any chances he had of being presidentially nominated and Senate
confirmed to the position of Undersecretary, then or now.
served as the Undersecretary, I was well advised by certain consumer
advocates that I should meet with Mike Taylor sooner than later--and I
did. It started a very frank but collegial relationship that I hope will
continue with his new responsibilities. The last year I was in DC, I sat
on many panels for frank, open-ended discussions regarding food safety
that almost always included Mike Taylor, and often included Caroline
Smith Dewaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Mike
Robach from Cargill. We disagreed on many aspects of how to improve food
safety. Specifically, Mike wants a single food safety agency, located
anywhere but at the USDA. I disagree on both counts. So we would move on
to other areas that we might be able to collaborate on and move forward
to improve the safety of the US food supply.
his detractors will recognize this man's ability to respectfully agree to
disagree on one area, but work on other areas where compromise can be
reached. He has created change before, and he is in a position to do it again. Probably better
to be with him than against him. Or at the very least, meet with him to
try and find compromise that works for all.
great hopes for this appointment, I hope you do too.