Brashears Confirmed to USDA Safety Job

March 25, 2020
A USDA official who has been serving as the de facto head of its food safety service for a year was finally confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the formal position.

A USDA official who has been serving as the de facto head of its food safety service for a year was finally confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the formal position.

Mindy Brashears got Senate confirmation as undersecretary for food safety on March 23. She will be the fifth person to hold the position, which was created in 1997.

Brashears was named deputy undersecretary for food safety last year by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in a move that did not require Senate confirmation. Her appointment was favorably reported out twice by the Senate Agriculture Committee but floundered, as the full Senate paid more attention to confirming judicial appointments.

During her time as deputy secretary, Brashears ran the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service together with administrator Carmen Rottenberg and deputy Paul Kiecker. They are credited with moving hog inspection protocols from an inspection-based model to a pathogen-based one.

Brashears is a former professor of food safety at Texas Tech University, and served as head of the National Alliance for Food Safety and Security.

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