Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Under Secretary Elisabeth Hagen today made the following statements on Under Secretary Hagen's departure from USDA.
Under Secretary Hagen said: "Today I am announcing that I will be embarking in mid-December on a new challenge in the private sector. I am grateful to Secretary Vilsack for the opportunity to serve as Under Secretary for Food Safety and be part of his leadership team. I also want to thank the dedicated public servants of FSIS for their tireless work in protecting the public health; it has been an honor to serve with them. I've had the pleasure of serving FSIS in a career capacity as well as Under Secretary, so I know full well their commitment to protecting public health.
"It has been an ambitious three years. USDA and FSIS have successfully made preventing foodborne illness a real priority. The steps we have taken, from modernising the agency, strengthening oversight of industry and increasing outreach to consumers has led to safer food and fewer foodborne illnesses," she added.
Secretary Vilsack commented: "Thanks to Elisabeth Hagen's hard work and sound leadership of the thousands of employees at the Food Safety and Inspection Service, America's meat, poultry and processed eggs are safer for Americans.
"Under Dr Hagen's leadership, USDA adopted a new zero-tolerance policy for additional strains of E. coli in beef and adopted new standards to protect Americans from Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry. She also spearheaded the effort to develop a new Public Health Information System to better inform consumers about proper food handling and food safety, to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses.
"I'm proud of our record under the Obama Administration to ensure a safe food supply for Americans, and Under Secretary Hagen has played a key role in those efforts. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours," he added.