Food Safety News has learned that Brian Ronholm has been named acting under secretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Brian Ronholm joined USDA in April 2011 as deputy under secretary for food safety. He previously served as an Agriculture Appropriations associate on the staff of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), managing issues related to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. There is no official word on who will permanently replace Elisabeth Hagen in the position, but POLITICO reports that Anne MacMillan, USDA’s deputy chief of staff, and Al Almanza, Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) administrator, are at the top of the list of potential nominees. Hagen’s last day in the position was Dec. 13, after “an ambitious three years” as under secretary. She now moves on to consulting firm Deloitte as a food safety senior advisor. It’s unclear when President Obama intends to announce his nomination for the position. Hagen was sworn in as the highest food-safety official in the federal government in August 2010 after the position had been vacant for more than a year. Food safety advocates are hoping her successor is appointed much more quickly.