Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Brian Ronholm

Opponents say USDA reorganization has multiple problems

Critics are continuing to noodle Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s plan to reorganize his large department, finding things they don’t like about it. Perdue’s desire to move U.S. involvement in world food standards to USDA’s trade office, taking it away from food safety, was the first change to stir controversy. Stephen Ostroff, the Food and… Continue Reading

Perdue’s plan pleases business, concerns food safety experts

FDA, USDA food safety veterans fear public interest will take back seat to exporters' interests

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is making a peculiar argument for transferring the U.S. Codex Office from food safety to trade. Perdue is claiming the move will better ensure that the international standards are “grounded in science,” which is the peculiar part. The U.S. Codex Office has long reported to the USDA undersecretary for food safety,… Continue Reading

Letter from the Editor: Vacancy says food safety not a priority

Opinion

I’m pretty jaded when it comes to the federal government — no matter who is running it. But I do know that without filling the spokes in the government’s wheels nothing is going to happen. And some spokes are more important than others. Faithful readers know Food Safety News is counting the days for the appointment by President Trump and… Continue Reading

Moving the U.S. Codex Office to USDA Trade is a big mistake

Opinion

One significant provision in Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s most recent realignment announcement would move the U.S. Codex Office from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to the newly created Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA) office. While the move may seem inconsequential on the surface, this realignment will undermine the United States’ credibility… Continue Reading

Former USDA officials say feds critically short of veterinarians

Veterinarians' groups predict shortage of highly educated staff will decrease U.S. food safety

Sometimes when a door swings open, opportunity for change has the chance to enter. That’s what some members of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians are hoping will happen now that two top food safety positions at the U.S, Department of Agriculture are in line for new leadership. On July 31, Al Almanza retired from… 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

Chinese poultry: Verification must precede trust for food safety

Opinion

There is always a healthy amount of skepticism from parents whenever children claim they were able to clean their rooms in five minutes. While the children may have met the literal requirement of the parent’s request, you wonder what surprises would be discovered if you checked under the bed, in the closet or in the… Continue Reading

USDA reorganization plan could reduce food safety protections

Opinion

A seemingly minor component of the USDA reorganization plan released last week could have a negative impact on food safety as the plan gets implemented. Much of the focus has been on the creation of a new undersecretary for trade position, but the plan also calls for the establishment of an interagency committee that would… Continue Reading

Trump’s well-done habits could bode well for food safety

Opinion

While it may appear safe to assume that President Trump will have no interest in these issues, determining his impact on the food safety agenda actually will require a nuanced effort. Notwithstanding the tweet complaining about the so-called “food police” and a leaked phone conversation about imposing stricter food safety standards for trade purposes, President… Continue Reading

Foreign officials, states and businesses want Almanza’s time

The federal government’s top food safety officials made up in the second quarter for any lapses in their first quarter in reporting of their meetings with people outside the U.S. government. The so-called public calendars disclose after-the-fact who has gained valuable face time with top decision makers. At USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS),… Continue Reading