Poultry, antibiotics, Ionophores and activities with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were among the subjects of April meetings between Al Almanza, administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and people outside the federal government.

Almanza’s public calendar for April included five meetings, four before Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was confirmed by the Senate on April 24. There was a noticeable reduction in meetings with outsiders at both FSIS and the Food and Drug Administration while the agencies waited for Trump administration leadership to arrive.

clocktable_406x250With both Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb now on the job — Gottlieb was confirmed on May 9 — the meeting traffic for the nation’s top two food safety agencies will likely pick up.

Almanza hosted two meetings on poultry, on April 4 with a delegation from the National Chicken Council and Sanderson Farms that was said to be over the NPIS or New Poultry Inspection System; and on April 25 with a group from the California Poultry Federation over the poultry inspection rule. Hany Sidrak, executive associate for regulatory operations at FSIS was the only agency representative other than Almanza at both meetings.

Jesse Sevcik and Eric Steiner, both from Elanco, met with Almanza on April 11 over Ionophores and antibiotics. Ionophores differ from other classes of antibiotics in that they are not seen as important to human health. Elanco is an animal food producer and a division of Eli Lilly and Co.

Carolina Giliberti, executive vice president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) met with Almanza, his deputy and international coordinator on April 19 to talk about joint activities.

Almanza held a second meeting on Ionophores on April 20 with Scott Graves, principal with Williams and Jensen. Graves is the former majority staff director for the House Agriculture Committee, who is now in private practice.

Stephen M. Ostroff spent April as acting FDA Commissioner. He attended the April 5 Food Fraud Conference in Quebec City, Canada; and on April 27 participated in the Pew Charitable Trusts event on “Information Regarding the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and Beyond for Improving Food Safety.”

Those were his only food safety related meetings during the month. He did keep busy, however, with meetings on heroin epidemics, pharmacopeia, “first and human” medical research and the global challenge of antimicrobial resistances.

With FDA Commissioner Gottlieb’s confirmation, Ostroff returned to his regular job as Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, where he is charged with implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Almanza also remains as the acting head of USDA’s Office of Food Safety until President Trump nominates and the Senate confirms the next USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, a position that went vacate for the last three years of President Obama’s tenure.


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