On its last day, Senate confirms Esteban as nation’s 6th Under Secretary for Food Safety

It took at least two months longer than planned, but the Senate finally confirmed Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban as the USDA’s Undersecretary for Food Safety by voice vote.

Esteban was confirmed on the Senate’s last day of business before the 177th congress ends.

The move was immediately applauded by Ted McKinney, CEO of the National State Department Agricultural Association (NASDA). He said:

“Dr. Esteban is a remarkable scientist and, perhaps even more importantly, he is an exceptional communicator when it comes to helping others understand the science behind our food. The Ministry needs a knowledgeable and experienced leader like Dr. Esteban to navigate the current challenges of the food system and implement bipartisan solutions. We thank the U.S. Senate for recognizing the strength it brings to the agriculture and food industries.”

NASDA also prepared a letter of support prior to Dr. Esteban’s confirmation.

After serving as Chief Scientific Officer for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Esteban has assumed the premier position for food safety in the United States.

President Biden named Esteban as the USDA’s sixth Under Secretary for Food Safety on November 15, 2021. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry was assigned to consider the nomination, but did not give Esteban a hearing until Sept. 27. , 2022,

Esteban’s nomination was reported favorably by the Commission on 27 September 2022. Then the Senate Executive was featured on his calendar. The Senate didn’t take it up until late December 22nd.

The office was vacant while awaiting the election of senators by President Biden.

In addition to his predecessor, Mindy Brashears, four others have held the position. Dr. Richard Allen Raymond, July 2003 to January 2009. Elsa A. Murano October 2001 to December 2004. Catherine Woteki from July 1997 to January 2001.

Esteban has served in several roles with the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). Since 2018, he has held his FSIS Chief Scientist position. Esteban has been working with the agency since his 2001.

Prior to joining USDA, Esteban worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Information Service Officer, Staff Epidemiologist, and Assistant Director of the Food Safety Administration.

He is chairman of the Codex Alimentarius Commission on Food Hygiene. This committee assists in defining food hygiene standards for international trade. Esteban is also Vice President of the International Food Protection Association.

Dr. Esteban was trained as a veterinarian in Mexico. He holds an MBA, a Master’s degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, and a Ph.D. He holds a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, Davis.

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