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Al Almanza

Letter From the Editor: Dual Heads

Opinion

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Military officers sometimes wear “dual hats,” meaning, for example, that they might be both a base commander and the commander of an army. In food safety, we now have “dual heads” that Barack Obama and Tom Vilsack want fitted into one hat. Those heads belong to Al Almanza and Brian Ronholm, both of whom now… Continue Reading

Almanza Named Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA

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Al Almanza, administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was named the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety on Monday, according to the meat industry trade publication Meatingplace. Almanza will share the title of Deputy Under Secretary with Brian Ronholm, who has been serving as Acting Under… Continue Reading

FSIS Poultry Rule Requires More Pathogen Testing, Introduces Voluntary Inspection System

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The new poultry inspection rule announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires additional microbiological testing at all poultry processing facilities and introduces a fifth inspection system available for U.S. plants to voluntarily adopt. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the rule a “longstanding effort” to “modernize our system” and said the agency is confident… Continue Reading

NIOSH Director Says FSIS Administrator Misinterpreted Line-Speed Study

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John Howard, director of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is concerned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has misinterpreted the findings of a recent study evaluating worker safety at poultry-processing plants. At the request of FSIS, NIOSH evaluated the effects of waivers of line-speed restrictions… Continue Reading

USDA: New York Times Article Misrepresented IT Malfunction

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The story of a two-day computer system failure within the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month has been exaggerated by The New York Times and does not accurately represent the state of meat inspection during system downtime, according to the inspection administrator for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. From the afternoon of… Continue Reading

Humane Society Getting Its Way on “Downed” Veal Calves

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For most of the past decade, “downer” cattle were kept out of the food supply because of concern that most were older cows, which are thought to be more susceptible to disease, especially Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease. That policy is spelled out in Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Notice 56.07, the… Continue Reading

Letter From The Editor: New Years Resolutions

Opinion

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I wrote a few imaginary New Year’s resolutions for some of our newsmakers that we haven’t gotten around to publishing until now. As the great Willie Nelson would say: “Funny how time slips away.” Truth be told, some of my colleagues thought I was being too harsh on the government this year. I don’t think… Continue Reading

USDA’s Top Food Safety Officials Report Meetings with Those Outside Government

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USDA’s top four Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) officials held 22 meetings with persons outside the federal government over the summer, according to the agency’s public calendar. Food Safety News periodically published summaries of public calendars for the federal government’s top food safety officials, and last did so on June 25 for March, April… Continue Reading

USDA Ready to Inspect Horse Slaughter By Year End

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Equine inspections will be back on the menu at USDA by the end of the year, according to Al Almanza, administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). On Saturday, Almanza told the Texas-based Southwest Meat Association, meeting in San Antonio, that USDA will be ready to inspect plants that slaughter horses for human… Continue Reading

Public Calendars Published For April and May; March Goes Missing

USDA’s public calendar for the agency’s four top food safety officials covering the month of March is again available on the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s website. It disappeared over the weekend, raising the possibility the calendar was begin revised for meetings over the controversial “pink slime” issue that may have occurred during the month…. Continue Reading