By Brendan Fischer and Maggie Christ

Despite what you might think, America’s broken campaign finance system is about more than expensive ads flooding your screen and glossy mailers clogging your mailbox. The outsized role of money in politics has a real-world impact, with elected officials too often prioritizing

Continue Reading Senator’s Call for Meat Industry’s Answers Exposes Reach of Money in Politics  


President Trump’s executive order keeping meat plants open during the COVID-19 pandemic is a further threat to the health of the women and men who produce our food. The order would gut any incentive that companies do the right thing to protect the workforce, and instead push risks onto
Continue Reading Trump’s order to keep meat plants open gives big business a loophole


USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is getting a new top administrative officer. Paul Kiecker, who joined the agency in 1988 as a food inspector, is succeeding Carmen Rottenberg as FSIS Administrator.

Kiecker, who’s been deputy administrator since 2018, is the rare civil servant who moves from an
Continue Reading Letter From The Editor: Brashears confirmation vote long overdue

Consumer Reports Monday announced the appointment of former USDA deputy undersecretary Brian Ronholm as director of food policy for the 80-year old non-profit organization.

“Mr. Ronholm will lead Consumer Reports’ advocacy efforts to advance a safe and healthy food system. He will be based in CR’s Washington D.C. office,” according
Continue Reading Consumer Reports taps former USDA food safety official to direct food policy

American Agriculture is letting the U.S. Senate know that 68 months is long enough to go without a USDA under secretary for food safety.

Ten of the nation’s largest and most influential agricultural organizations have written the Senate’s leadership, calling for an immediate vote to confirm Mindy Brashears as USDA’s
Continue Reading Ag groups tell Senate it is time to confirm Mindy Brashears as Under Secretary for Food Safety


Tomorrow some of the fuzzy math related to the government’s operational status will come into clear focus for many so called non-essential federal employees when they don’t get paid.

Nuances of federal funding mean some administrators and employees have been and will continue to work and will continue to
Continue Reading Beach Beat: Is food safety essential to public safety? Good question

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will finally conduct a public nomination hearing on Nov. 28 for Mindy Brashears to become USDA’s under secretary for food safety.

Six months and 24 days after President Donald J. Trump nominated Brashears for the post, the Senate committee will hear public
Continue Reading Senate finally moves to fill USDA’s long-vacate top food safety post

Editor’s note: This opinion column was originally published by The Conversation and is republished here with permission.

The Trump administration on June 21 unveiled an ambitious plan to consolidate federal food safety efforts within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Currently, 15 agencies throughout the federal government administer 35 different laws
Continue Reading Here’s why Trump’s plan to consolidate food safety efforts won’t work