Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety
The Under Secretary for Food Safety is a subcabinet position within the United States Department of Agriculture responsible for oversight of the policies and programs of the Food Safety and Inspection Service. The Under Secretary chairs the U.S. Codex Steering Committee, which provides guidance to U.S. delegations to the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The Food Safety and Inspection Service is responsible for ensuring that the nation's supply of meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe and correctly labeled and packaged.
The Under Secretary of Food Safety is appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Under Secretary is selected from among individuals with specialized training or significant experience in food safety or public health programs. The position was created by the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act, signed into law in October 1994.
The position remains vacant, though in January 2010 the White House announced the intention to nominate Dr. Elisabeth Hagen to it. Previous Under Secretaries include Richard Allen Raymond (July 2005–January 2009), Elsa A. Murano (October 2001–December 2004) and Catherine Woteki (July 1997–January 2001). From December 1, 2004 until July 15, 2005, Merle D. Pierson was Acting Under Secretary. The then-incumbent Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator, Mike Taylor, became the acting Under Secretary from October 1994 to November 1996.
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