Almanza reappointed F.S.I.S. administrator

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – Alfred Almanza has been reappointed administrator of Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.), overseeing the regulation of meat, poultry and processed egg products, by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Mr. Almanza has been in a limited-term appointment as F.S.I.S. administrator since July 2007. The appointment is subject to final approval from the Office of Personnel Management.

Mr. Almanza leads F.S.I.S. and its more than 9,500 employees in their mission of protecting public health through food safety.

"During his 30-plus years of service in F.S.I.S., Al Almanza has worked tirelessly to fulfill the agency's critically important mission - keeping the public safe from foodborne illness," Mr. Vilsack. "I know he will continue to do an outstanding job managing a large agency and helping U.S.D.A. meet the food safety challenges of the 21st century."

Mr. Almanza has been credited for making several critical changes to agency policy, since July 2007, to better ensure mission success and effective use of agency resources.

"Al Almanza brings a wealth of common sense, knowledge, experience, and commitment to F.S.I.S.," said Jerold Mande, U.S.D.A. Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. "He has used these skills to make our food safer. I look forward to working closely with him to reduce further foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths."

Mr. Almanza's started his F.S.I.S. career in 1978 as a food inspector in a small slaughter plant in Dalhart, Texas. He has since served in a variety of positions throughout the agency including Deputy District Manager, Labor Management Relations Specialist and processing inspector. Before accepting the administrator position, Mr. Almanza was the district manager for the Dallas District where he provided leadership and direction to more than 600 employees located in more than 350 federally inspected establishments.

“Mr. Almanza’s years of experience and expertise will help advance our shared mission,” said J. Patrick Boyle, American Meat Institute president and c.e.o. “We look forward to continuing to work with him to ensure that our nation’s meat and poultry supply remains the safest in the world.”

“The American Association of Meat Processors [A.A.M.P.] congratulates Mr. Almanza on his recent appointment as administrator of F.S.I.S.,” Dr. Jay Wenther, executive director, American Association of Meat Processors, told MEATPOULTRY.com. “A.A.M.P. has worked with Mr. Almanza over the years regarding a variety of issues that effect very small and small independent meat processor. He has always had the ability to analyze the impacting issues while keeping the very small and small meat industry in mind. We look forward to continuing that productive and professional working relationship.”

“The National Meat Association welcomes news of Almanza’s permanent appointment to the position of administrator,” N.M.A. spokesman Jeremy Russell told MEATPOULTRY.com. “Almanza, who’s been acting administrator since 2007, has proven that he can handle the job. He has background in the field and an understanding of the complexities of managing a national, regulatory service. We look forward to continue working with him.

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