WASHINGTON, DC – The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) presented Alfred Almanza, deputy under secretary for food safety at the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), with the Richard E. Lyng Award during the NAMI Annual Meeting and Outlook Conference Sept. 27 in Washington, DC. The award recognized Almanza for his public service and commitment to the meat and poultry industry.
Meat Institute Board Chairman Brian Coelho, Central Valley Meat Co., presented Almanza with the honor during an awards ceremony at the conference. “In his role as USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, Almanza has been a tremendous advocate, supporter and chief regulator for the US meat and poultry industry,” Coelho said. “His understanding of the complexities of the meat and poultry industry has enabled him to provide strong leadership and guidance, which has resulted in a positive relationship between government and industry to the benefit of consumers.”
In addition to his role as deputy under secretary for food safety at USDA, Almanza also serves as Acting Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). At FSIS he spearheaded the development of the New Poultry Inspection System, has implemented regulatory strategies to combat E. coli O157:H7 and developed new performance standards to reduce Campylobacter and Salmonella.
“Almanza played an integral role in fostering relationships and addressing science-based, technical standards and procedures with foreign food safety and veterinary officials to assist in resolving critical barriers to meat and poultry trade,” Coehlo said. “His work directly led to increased market access for US products in Japan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Colombia and Australia.”
Past recipients of the Lyng Award have included US Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman; Sens. Richard Lugar, Trent Lott, Thad Corcoran and Pat Roberts; Reps. Henry Bonilla, Kika de la Garza, Charles Stenholm and Bob Goodlatte; and Darci Vetter, US chief agricultural negotiator. Meat industry leaders Rosemary Mucklow and Manly Molpus have also received the award. The Lyng Award is named after the late Richard E. Lyng (1918-2003), former president of the American Meat Institute (1973-79) and Secretary of Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan.