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. markedcalendar_406x250At USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the public figure with the most interesting public calendar is Al Almanza, deputy under secretary of USDA’s Office of Food Safety and acting administrator of FSIS. Who’s meeting with the boss of f the 7,500 food safety inspectors who represent FSIS at more than 6,000 meat, poultry, and processed egg facilities, and at 120 ports of entry, is telling. Almanza has separate monthly meetings with representatives of both consumers and the meat industry. He frequently has those meetings on the same day. In April, Almanza also took meetings with delegations from International Protein LLC; Pilgrim’s Pride and JBS; and the IBM Center for The Business of Government. His calendar lists the topic of the International Protein LLC meeting as being International Protein LLC. Topics discussed at the Pilgrim’s Pride/JBS meeting were the Public Health Information System (PHIS) and the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), The meeting with IBM was about “FSIS’ mission, strategic vision and enhancing federal food safety.” Almanza also had a meeting on importing veal from the Netherlands with various company representatives along with the North American Meat Institute. Brian Ronholm, USDA’s other deputy under secretary for food safety, met with a delegation headed by Patricia Buck of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention, about food safety labeling. Almanza ended April by meeting with the Food Marketing Institute’s Hilary Thesmar about the Partnership for Food Safety Education. Almanza and other FSIS personnel met with a delegation from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in May about the state’s proposal for a farm-based meat sales exemption. Later in May, Almanza was  pitched by Denver officials about the planned remake of the city’s national Western Center, the 139-acre complex that is the site of the National Western Stock Show. A lawyer-lobbyist pair discussed an antimicrobial carry-over study with Almanza during his final May meeting with parties outside the federal government. Almanza, Ronholm, and other FSIS staff members attended June meetings with consumer and industry groups, which were both held on June 16. Almanza and staff also met the same day with a delegation from Romania about the ongoing process of approving meat export facilities in Romania. Stephen M. Ostroff, who took over from Mike Taylor as the Food and Drug Administration’s deputy commissioner for food and veterinary medicine, has been splitting his time between road trips and meetings back at FDA. Ostroff has attended the Food and Drug Officers annual gathering in Pittsburg and the State and Local Epidemiologists convention in Alaska, and slipped in a Food Defense meeting in Minneapolis. He’s meet one-on-one with Tom Stenzel of the United Fresh Produce Association and held several meetings with a mix of FDA people and those outside the federal government on such topics as supplier verification, spent grains and supply chains. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)