In a farewell message published online last week, Al Almanza announced his retirement--effective July 31, 2017--from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). He was with the agency for 39 years, most recently serving as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and FSIS Administrator.

“As I look back over my ten years leading the Agency, I am proud of the accomplishments we have made together as FSIS has continually looked for ways to improve food safety and become more efficient.” says Almanza.

He states that his own career highlights (accomplished with the help of the entire FSIS team) include:

  • using a science-based approach to modernize the poultry slaughter inspection system
  • implementing the Public Health Information System
  • reducing listeriosis and E. coli O157:H7 illnesses from FSIS-regulated products
  • adding six other dangerous strains of E. coli to the zero-tolerance list
  • implementing performance standards for Campylobacter and Salmonella.

Almanza closes his farewell address by saying,

“It has been a pleasure partnering with all of you to protect the public’s health. I leave confident in the knowledge that, between FSIS’ dedicated employees and the dedication of our stakeholders and partner agencies, the safety of the supply of meat, poultry and egg products is in good hands. Thank you all!”

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