U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has named Mindy Brashears, Ph.D. as deputy undersecretary for food safety, a position that does not require confirmation by the Senate. She has also been re-nominated for the role of under secretary for food safety, a more senior role that requires Senate confirmation, by President Trump. The President’s initial nomination of Brashears expired in early January and was resubmitted to the Senate in the 116th Congress.
“I want to thank these three for their patience, as their professional lives have been placed on hold for months during their nomination process. Now, they will get to work right away on behalf of the American people,” stated Perdue in a USDA news release. The other folks Perdue is referring to are Naomi Earp, nominated as deputy assistant secretary for civil rights and Scott Hutchins, nominated for deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics—both of whom were also nominated for higher roles that require Senate confirmation. “I urge the Senate to act on their new nominations as quickly as possible, so we can have them in the positions for which they were intended in the first place.”
Brashears is a professor of food safety and public health, as well as the director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. Her research program aims to improve food safety standards that enhance public health. Some of her work has resulted in the commercialization of a pre-harvest feed additive that can reduce E. coli and Salmonella in cattle. Other credentials include leading international research teams in Mexico and Central and South America with the goal of improving food safety and security, along with establishing sustainable agriculture in impoverished regions.