President Donald Trump has nominated Dr. Cindy Brashears to be the Under Secretary for Food Safety. Brashears would be the first person in that position since Elizabeth Hagen left the job during the Obama Administration in 2013. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the president made a good choice in picking Brashears. “Food safety is directly at the core of USDA’s mission because it directly affects the health and well-being of millions of Americans,” Perdue says. “Dr. Brashears has spent decades finding ways to improve food safety standards through things like innovation, invention, and leadership on research missions across the globe.”
Brashears is a food safety and public health professor at Texas Tech University, where she also works as the school’s director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence. Her research focuses on improving food safety standards and making an impact on public health. Some of her research work has led to the commercialization of a pre-harvest feed additive that can reduce E. Coli and Salmonella in cattle. She also leads international research teams to Mexico, along with Central, and South America, to improve food safety and security and to set up sustainable agriculture systems in impoverished areas.
In other USDA news, Sam Clovis, the USDA liaison to the White House, is leaving his job in Washington, D.C. Newsmax.com says the former Trump campaign co-chair and policy adviser was nominated by President Trump to be the USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. Clovis withdrew before the Senate Ag Committee could hold a hearing. Senate Democrats and environmentalists came down hard on Clovis over topics like his skepticism regarding climate change, as well as past comments on race and gender. Critics also said he had no scientific experience for a post that would essentially be the USDA’s top scientist.
He had most recently been providing some guidance for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. A USDA spokesman says, “Dr. Clovis was one of the first people through the door at USDA in January 2017, and we are grateful for his time here. He is a good man and a patriot who for decades has served his country admirably. While we are sad Dr. Clovis is leaving USDA, we wish him well in his future endeavors back home in Iowa.”