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Senate confirms another USDA nominee

Senate confirms another USDA nominee

Jose Emilio Esteban will serve as under secretary for food safety

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Another position within the United States Department of Agriculture is filled.

On Dec. 22, the Senate confirmed Jose Emilio Esteban by voice vote to be the under secretary for food safety.

President Biden nominated Esteban in November 2021. Esteban appeared in front of the Senate Ag Committee on Sept. 22, 2022.

As under secretary for food safety, Esteban’s responsibilities include oversight of the policies and programs of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

FSIS works to protect the public’s health by ensuring meat, poultry and egg products are safe and properly labeled.

Esteban has been with the FSIS since 2006, including serving as its chief scientist since 2018.

His experience makes him an excellent person for the position, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“I am confident that Dr. Esteban’s leadership and experience is the right combination to advance our commitment to maintaining public health and reducing foodborne illness,” he said in a Jan. 4 statement. “I look forward to working with him as USDA continues to address foodborne challenges head-on with innovative solutions and proactive measures.”

Esteban will also serve as chair of the U.S. Codex Steering Committee related to agriculture. This committee, made up of senior ag officials within the government, provides guidance to U.S. representatives to the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

That commission, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1961, is designed to protect the health of consumers and facilitate international trade.

Sandra Eskin remains the deputy under secretary for food safety. She’s been in this position since March 2021.

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