Jose Emilio Esteban To Be Nominated as USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

Nov. 15, 2021
20-year USDA FSIS veteran formerly worked at CDC.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced his intention to nominate Jose Emilio Esteban, a longtime USDA employee, to serve as under secretary for food safety.

“Dr. Esteban has a deep understanding of USDA’s commitment to protect the health of the public by providing food safety," said Vilsack. "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."

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 at Davis.

He started his tenure at USDA FSIS in 2001. Since 2018, he has been FSIS' chief scientist, providing scientific advice to support agency policies including the disciplines of microbiology, chemistry and pathology. Prior to joining USDA, Dr. 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.

He also 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).

His nomination will follow that of Robert Califf, who was nominated by President Biden last week to serve as FDA commissioner.

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