Food & Agriculture

Safe Food Coalition Welcomes Nomination of Public Health Professional as Food Safety Undersecretary

Effective Leadership from Government’s Highest Ranking Food Safety Official can Help to Reduce Foodborne Illness

Washington D.C. — Members of the Safe Food Coalition are optimistic today that the Trump Administration’s nomination of Dr. Mindy Brashears for the position of Under Secretary for Food Safety will help to improve public health. Congress created the Office of Under Secretary for Food Safety in 1994 to address recurring charges of conflict-of-interest between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s marketing and promotion activities and its public health regulatory functions. The Under Secretary is the federal government’s highest ranking food safety official, yet the position has remained vacant since Dr. Elisabeth Hagen resigned in 2013.

The coalition has repeatedly asked the Administration to select a nominee with a strong commitment to protecting public health, the expertise necessary to guide the policies and programs carried out by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and a record of working effectively to find new ways to reduce foodborne illness. Dr. Brashears’ academic credentials suggest that she has the requisite expertise. The Senate confirmation process should examine her record closely to assure consumers that she will work to reduce foodborne illness and protect public health, and that Dr. Brashears does not have any conflicts of interest that may lead her to pursue policies that are contrary to the public interest. To be an effective leader, Dr. Brashears must actively engage with public health and food safety advocates in developing strong regulations that reduce foodborne illness.

Contact: Thomas Gremillion, 202-939-1010