A few minutes with USDA's Dr. Mindy Brashears: The most important woman in food safety

We talk with Dr. Mindy Brashears, a well-respected food safety professional with an impressive international record in developing and promoting animal agriculture.

 

Chuck Jolley, Feedstuffs

Jul 05, 2019

 

The position of undersecretary of agriculture for food safety has been all but abandoned for the past few years. It was a place for rock stars of the food industry to shine. People I've had the honor to know like Dr. Dick Raymond and Dr. Elsa Murano as well as influential people like Dr. Catherine Woteki and Dr. Elizabeth Hagen sat in the chair.

 

The office that provided critical oversight for the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS); the U.S. Department Agriculture's public health agency that regulates meat, poultry and processed egg products, sat empty for five years.

 

Last year, President Donald Trump nominated Dr. Mindy Brashears. A well-respected food safety professional with an impressive international record in developing and promoting animal agriculture, she still sat for over a year without official Congressional approval. In January, USDA secretary Sonny Perdue decided to move the balky cart a few more blocks up Washington's often steep 'Hill' and named her deputy undersecretary, a position that does not need approval. It has allowed her to take up the reins of the office and begin important work while awaiting the final Senate imprimatur.

 

I've interviewed her several times in the past and she's always been an excellent subject, refreshingly candid and honest with her replies. So, right after she was appointed, I asked her to talk with me 'on the record.' While confirmation was pending, though, it wasn't possible. A few days ago, I received a text message from her saying she could finally talk with the press.

 

Here's what she had to say:

 

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