President Donald Trump is tapping Texas Tech Professor Mindy Brashears to take over the government’s highest food safety job.
Trump said today he plans to nominate Brashears, the director of Texas Tech’s International Center for Food Industry Excellence, as USDA’s next Undersecretary for Food Safety. The job requires Senate confirmation.
The White House said in a release that Brashears focuses much of her research on improving food safety standards.
“Her work evaluates interventions in pre- and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance in animal feeding systems and has resulted in the commercialization of a pre-harvest feed additive that can reduce E. coli and Salmonella in cattle,” according to the release. She is also a past chair of the National Alliance for Food Safety and Security and of the USDA multi-state research group.
Brashears appeared as an expert witness last year for Beef Products Inc., helping the Sioux City, Iowa, food company negotiate a multimillion settlement from ABC News. The company had sued ABC, alleging it had been disparaged by the news organization when it described a beef product as “pink slime.” Brashears told the jury that BPI’s lean finely textured beef is meat, is beef, is nutritious and is entirely safe to eat.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded Trump’s selection.
“Food safety is at the core of USDA’s mission, because it directly affects the health and well-being of millions of Americans every day. President Trump has made an excellent choice in Dr. Mindy Brashears, and I am excited to have her join the team. Dr. Brashears has spent decades finding ways to improve food safety standards through innovation, invention, and leadership on research missions across the globe. I look forward to her bringing that wealth of expertise and track record of results here to USDA.
“In the meantime, we still have qualified people in addition to Dr. Brashears awaiting confirmation to fill key roles at USDA. I urge the Senate take up all of our nominations as quickly as possible.”
Among the department’s top unfilled positions are undersecretaries for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, and for Research, Education and Economics.