White House names food safety chief

Industry groups support move to fill long-time vacancy

The White House has nominated Dr. Elisabeth Hagen to lead the Food Safety Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hagen is a former senior executive at the FSIS and is currently the USDA’s chief medical officer. The undersecretary of food safety position has been vacant since October 2008, according to OMB Watch, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Food Safety News reported that industry and consumer groups generally received the news as positive, although several noted that they did not know what her approach to policy would be since her past positions have focused more on science than politics.

The National Meat Association said its was pleased that the position may finally be filled, while the president of the American Meat Institute, J. Patrick Boyle, told Food Safety News that his group was "gratified that a person with Dr. Hagen's scientific and medical training will lead the agency's food safety efforts."

The nomination awaits congressional approval.

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