Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban has been nominated to serve as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under secretary for food safety.

His nomination was announced on November 12.

“Dr. Esteban has a deep understanding of USDA’s commitment to protect the health of the public by providing food safety. Having held several leadership roles in USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), he has a proven, and extensive, track record on this key issue,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said.

Esteban started his tenure at USDA FSIS in 2001 and held the roles of laboratory director for the Western Laboratory, scientific advisor for laboratory services and research coordination, and executive associate for laboratory services. In 2018, he was appointed chief scientist of FSIS. In that role, Esteban provides scientific advice to support agency policies including the disciplines of microbiology, chemistry, and pathology. Prior to joining USDA, Esteban worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemic intelligence service officer, staff epidemiologist, and assistant director of the Food Safety Office.

Advertisement

He currently serves as the chair for the Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Food Hygiene, the committee where international food hygiene standards are defined for international trade. He is also currently vice president of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).

Trained as a veterinarian in Mexico, Esteban supplemented his training with an MBA, a master’s degree in preventive veterinary medicine, and a PhD in epidemiology from University of California, Davis.

“As we continue to push forward our commitment to create a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system, Dr. Esteban’s leadership will be invaluable to our team,” said Vilsack.

Esteban’s appointment is subject to confirmation from the United States Senate.