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Al Almanza

JBS taps Almanza to lead its food safety program worldwide

The mega-meat company JBS, racked recently by involvement in Brazil’s development bank and inspection bribery scandals that cost its top shareholders billions, is turning to a freshly retired U.S. food safety official to regain public confidence. Alfred “Al” Almanza, who Monday retired as USDA’s top food safety official, has moved over to the private sector as global head of… Continue Reading

Letter From The Editor: Fill USDA’s top food safety posts now

Opinion

UPDATED: So far,  so good. Secretary Perdue has named, on a temporary basis,  two USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) career employees to the top jobs. Paul Kiecker is acting FSIS administrator and Carmen Rottenberg is acting deputy undersecretary for food safety. A couple days ago we ran Al Almanza official farewell message. He’s been… Continue Reading

A farewell message from Al Almanza after 39 years with FSIS

Opinion

Editor’s note: Originally posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a Constituent Update, this message from Al Almanza comes as he prepares for his last day on the job at the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. He is set to retire July 31. After 39 years with FSIS, I am retiring from public… Continue Reading

Chipotle’s food safety officials recently visited Washington D.C.

James Marsden, top food safety official for Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, who joined the Denver-based burrito chain’s Food Safety Advisory Board in January, met on June 1 with top officials at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Hagen was USDA under secretary for food safety from 2010 to 2013. Her return with Marsden… Continue Reading

Out with the old, in with the new-ish in USDA’s No. 2 post

Al Almanza puts in his retirement papers; confirmation process begins for Stephen Censky

The Al Almanza decade as USDA’s most important figure in food safety is ending, and Stephen Censky is coming in as deputy secretary to help Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue run the department. Almanza, deputy under secretary for food safety and administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), is retiring from government effective July… Continue Reading

New leadership at USDA, FDA might increase outside meetings

Poultry, antibiotics, Ionophores and activities with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were among the subjects of April meetings between Al Almanza, administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and people outside the federal government. Almanza’s public calendar for April included five meetings, four before Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was confirmed by the… Continue Reading

Top food safety regulators say D.C. transition going smoothly

CHICAGO — America’s top cops in food safety gathered for a “Town Hall” Thursday morning at the 2017 Food Safety Summit. They let the attendees know that if they were worried about the transition in government, they can forget about it. From the states’ perspective, the Association of Food and Drug Officials’ Joseph Corby spoke of unprecedented cooperation…. Continue Reading

Not a lot of outsider demand for meetings with “acting” agency heads

Al Almanza and Carmen Rottenberg are keeping the coffee hot at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) but they are not getting many takers during this transition in government period. Almanza, the acting deputy undersecretary for USDA’s food safety office who also doubles as FSIS administrator, and Rottenberg, who has… Continue Reading

FSIS steps up hotline and online chat services to improve food safety

The Meat and Poultry Hotline and the  “Ask Karen” online chat service have gone to expanded hours, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).   Both consumer lines are for people who need immediate and accurate food handling and preparation advice. The expanded hours are called for in the agency’s… Continue Reading

USDA beefs up scrutiny of Brazilian beef amid bribery scandal

None of the slaughter or processing facilities targeted by the Federal Police in Brazil have shipped meat products to the United States, according to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Nevertheless, FSIS immediately instituted additional pathogen testing of all shipments of raw and ready-to-eat beef products from Brazil once it heard a scandal was brewing…. Continue Reading