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Letter to the Editor: Another option for USDA food safety post

Opinion

From Michael J. Gilsdorf

Dear Editor,
This is in reference to your article, “Raymond to Perdue: Top food safety candidate is in your backyard” published Jan. 27.

I am the executive vice president of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians. NAFV has members who are Public Health Veterinarians working within the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) supervising slaughter operations. NAFV is an advocate for member veterinarians in federal service. NAFV emphasizes professionalism and expertise in federal service and promotes continuing education, teamwork, and a standard of excellence. NAFV is the recognized representative organization for veterinarians employed by the federal government.

NAFV supports the comments of former undersecretary of food safety, Richard Raymond regarding the importance of having an educated and knowledgeable food safety expert as the undersecretary of food safety.  The person in this position helps set the direction for the entire agency’s food safety strategy. It is also important to have additional educated and knowledgeable food safety experts throughout the FSIS; especially those in charge of plant inspections, field operations and policy development.

Gen. John Poppe

Gen. John Poppe

We believe that Michael Doyle (recommended by Dr. Raymond) has an excellent background in food safety and his knowledge would be valuable. However, we also have an excellent candidate we are nominating, retired Brigadier General John Poppe DVM, MPH, DACPVM, who also has years of experience effectively leading a staff of food safety inspectors.

Gen. Poppe, was deputy chief of staff public health, U.S. Army Medical Command and Chief, Veterinary Corps. In that position, he has 28 years’ experience in food safety and public health programs leading a large work force for Army Public Health.

Among his responsibilities as chief of the Veterinary Corps, he provided leadership for its mission of animal health and food protection, including food safety and defense, across seven continents. He also has a robust, multi disciplinary educational background, giving him a comprehensive understanding of interconnections among animal production, animal health and human health.

Gen. Poppe has a practical perspective and his food safety, public health experiences positions him well to lead innovative programs that ensure complete and seamless attention to food safety and security from production to retail. He is highly regarded by his veterinary peers, as well as other senior and subordinate military and civilian personnel. He is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Public Service Award.

The NAFV is confident that Gen. Poppe will successfully carry out the duties of the under secretary for food safety.

National Association of Federal VeterinariansNote on the letter writer: Michael J. Gilsdorf is a veterinarian and executive vice president of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, based in Washington D.C. NAFV emphasizes professionalism and expertise in federal service and promotes continuing education, teamwork, and a standard of excellence.

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