President Trump on Friday announced his intent to nominate Dr. Mindy Brashears of Texas, to be the Under Secretary for Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture, the nation’s top food safety post. The position has been vacant since December, 2013 when Dr. Elizabeth Hagen left the job during the Obama administration.
“Dr. Brashears would bring a wealth of food safety knowledge, a microbiological background and boots-on-the-ground experience to this position, and we urge the Senate to consider her nomination promptly,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown in response to today’s announcement. “We look forward to working with her, and continuing to work with the dedicated professionals at the Food Safety and Inspection Service, in advancing our common goal of protecting public health and keeping our food supply safe.”
Dr. Brashears is a Professor of Food Safety and Food Microbiology and the Director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University, where she focuses much of her research on improving food safety standards. Dr. Brashears’s work evaluates interventions in pre- and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance in animal feeding systems. Additionally, she leads international research teams to Mexico, Central America, and South America to set up sustainable agriculture systems in impoverished areas. Dr. Brashears is past-Chair of the National Alliance for Food Safety and Security and of the United States Department of Agriculture multi-state research group.
After the announcement, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statement:
“Food safety is at the core of USDA’s mission, because it directly affects the health and well-being of millions of Americans every day. President Trump has made an excellent choice in Dr. Mindy Brashears, and I am excited to have her join the team. Dr. Brashears has spent decades finding ways to improve food safety standards through innovation, invention, and leadership on research missions across the globe. I look forward to her bringing that wealth of expertise and track record of results here to USDA.
“In the meantime, we still have qualified people in addition to Dr. Brashears awaiting confirmation to fill key roles at USDA. I urge the Senate take up all of our nominations as quickly as possible.”