Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the appointment of Alfred V. Almanza as Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), overseeing the regulation of meat, poultry and processed egg products, according to a USDA press release.
Almanza has been in a limited term appointment as Administrator of FSIS since July 2007. In this position, he will lead FSIS and its more than 9,500 employees in their mission of protecting public health through food safety. The appointment is subject to final approval from the Office of Personnel Management.
"During his 30-plus years of service in FSIS, Al Almanza has worked tirelessly to fulfill the agency's critically important mission - keeping the public safe from foodborne illness," said Vilsack. "I know he will continue to do an outstanding job managing a large agency and helping USDA meet the food safety challenges of the 21st century."
Since July 2007, Mr. Almanza has made several critical changes to agency policy to better ensure mission success and effective use of agency resources. He has worked hard to foster productive relationships with the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals and other public health partners.
"Al Almanza brings a wealth of common sense, knowledge, experience, and commitment to FSIS," said Jerold Mande, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. "He has used these skills to make our food safer. I look forward to working closely with him to reduce further foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths."
Almanza's FSIS career began in 1978 as a food inspector in a small slaughter plant in Dalhart, Texas. Since that time he has served in a variety of positions throughout the Agency including Deputy District Manager, Labor Management Relations Specialist and processing inspector. Prior to accepting the Administrator position, Almanza was the district manager for the Dallas District where he provided leadership and direction to more than 600 employees located in more than 350 federally inspected establishments.