USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service remains leaderless

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) responded to the Christmas Eve tenderized steak recall by calling out the Obama Administration for failing to nominate an undersecretary for food safety to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Oklahoma-based National Steak and Poultry (NSP) announced last week it was initiating a recall of processed steak products after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FSIS identified a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. 

The outbreak is currently linked to 21 illnesses in 16 states, though FSIS has only named six: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota, and Washington.

DeLauro released a statement Monday saying the outbreak “highlights the need for the Obama Administration to appoint immediately a strong and effective leader to be undersecretary for food safety at USDA.”

“This position has been vacant for far too long and it is preventing the department from acting on critical food safety issues such as this one,” added DeLauro.

Pictured: Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) giving remarks at the Global Food Safety Policy Forum on October 14, 2009. Photo by Helena Bottemiller