After 14 months since her nomination was first sent to the Senate and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Dr. Mindy Brashears was confirmed by the Senate on March 23, 2020. She is now the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety.
Dr. Brashears was previously a professor of food safety and public health and the director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. Dr. Brashears’ research program focuses on improving food safety standards to make an impact on public health. Her highly acclaimed work evaluates interventions in pre- and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance in animal feeding systems. These efforts have resulted in 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, Central, and South America to improve food safety and security and to set up sustainable agriculture systems in impoverished areas. She is past-Chair of the National Alliance for Food Safety and Security and of the USDA multi-state research group.
In November 2013, the former Agriculture Under Secretary Elisabeth Hagen made the announcement that she would be leaving USDA to join the private sector.