Brian Ronholm has been the head of the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) since Dec. 19, 2013 – that is six months today – and what a six months it has been. Out of the box – in January and then in February – Mr. Ronholm had to deal with Rancho Feeding Corporation recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds of beef “because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection.” This was clearly a black eye for the agency. A criminal investigation is ongoing which has limited Mr. Ronholm’s ability to be open and transparent – for which he has been unfairly criticized. Also in January, Mr. Ronholm stepped into the pile of $%^& knows as HIMP, or HACCP-based Inspection Model Program. Worker and inspector safety aside, whether chickens fly by at 100 or more a minute, it is in my opinion beside the point – as long as Salmonella and Campylobacter are not considered adulterants – who cares how fast the $%^& flies by? Fixing this mess would require industry, labor and administration support – not likely to happen in Mr. Ronholm’s lifetime. Then just last week, Mr. Ronholm, perhaps as a nod to the stupidity that is Salmonella as adulterant or not, in beef or poultry, FSIS is now “super-sizing” Salmonella testing in ground beef this summer. I am not sure how that may impact the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) petition (and coming lawsuit) to deem Salmonella an adulterant in ground beef, but is seems more like moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic. Also somewhat embarrassing to happen in his first six months in office, Mr. Ronholm, as of midnight last night, is overseeing the largest ground beef recall associated with illnesses in more than six years. FSIS announced late Sunday night that Wolverine Packing Company was recalling approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Based on epidemiological and traceback investigations, 11 case-patients have been identified in four states, with illness onset dates ranging from April 22, 2014, to May 2, 2014. This outbreak is likely to expand over the coming days. However, out of embarrassment, comes opportunity. Perhaps, in addition to the Wolverine Packing recall, FSIS could explain to the public how this outbreak could have happened at all? Perhaps making public all plant FSIS inspector non-compliance reports? Perhaps making public all microbiological testing of trim and announcing if end product testing was performed or not before the hamburger was shipped to the public? And, do not forget to name the retail outlets – including restaurants – where the meat was sold. The test of a true leader is the ability to learn from errors – even when they are not yours. After six months on this job, Mr. Ronholm can teach us.