It's time to fill the position of Undersecretary for
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,
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
8. He serves as an adjunct assistant
professor of nutrition on the graduate faculty at Howard
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.