Safety Zone
By: James Marsden
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How about looking inside USDA for Food Safety czar?

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(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

It's time to fill the position of Undersecretary for Food Safety.

We are 7 months into the Obama administration and still don't have an Undersecretary for Food Safety. One of the reasons is the difficulty in finding a qualified individual who wants the job and meets the administration's stringent ethics requirements. At this point, the search has focused on individuals outside of USDA.  It may be time to consider looking inside USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service for the best qualified person to fill this important job.

At the recent NAMP E. coli meeting, I had the opportunity to introduce Dr. Dan Englejohn, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development. During the introduction, it occurred to me that Dan is uniquely and ideally qualified to serve as the Undersecretary for Food Safety.

Here are some of the things that make him the best choice for this key position:

1.       He is experienced with the workings of USDA. Dan has worked for USDA since 1979 in various roles of increasing responsibility.

2.       There is no one who has contributed more to promote the cause of food safety than Dr. Englejohn. He has the vision to make real advances in public health policy.

3.       Throughout his career, he has managed to maintain the respect and trust of consumer groups, industry trade associations and the public health community.

4.       His educational background includes B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science, with a Specialty in Meat Science/Muscle Biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition from Howard University, Washington, DC with a specialty in Human Experimental Nutrition

5.       He is an experienced manager who currently serves in the Senior Executive Service at USDA in the policy office of FSIS, the Department's public health regulatory agency.  

6.       He oversees the risk management activities associated with meat, poultry, and processed egg products - and leads the strategic planning efforts involving the development of food safety regulations.  

7.       He represents FSIS on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods and is the FSIS spokesperson on food irradiation issues.  

8.       He serves as an adjunct assistant professor of nutrition on the graduate faculty at Howard University and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on human nutrition.  

Dr. Englejohn has many more achievements that are too lengthy to include in this blog.

I believe that we have a convergence of events that provides a unique opportunity to make real improvements in food safety. We need an Undersecretary for Food Safety who is the best qualified person for the job. It is difficult to imagine a better choice than Dr. Englejohn.

8/21/2009 11:50 AM 


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