WASHINGTON- Frank Yiannas, vice president, food safety and health at Walmart will be taking a new role as deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the US Food and Drug Administration, according to a letter by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to agency staff.

In his new position, Yiannas will lead the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine. Yiannas takes over for Dr. Stephen Ostroff who has worked for the FDA since 2013, most recently as the deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

Gottlieb said in his letter that Ostroff plans to retire on Jan. 5 but will stay on as a senior advisor and help Yiannas with the transition.

Yiannas, a leading advocate for blockchain technology throughout the food industry, expressed his appreciation for his new role on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

While working as deputy commissioner for food policy and response, Yiannas is tasked with implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, collaborating with the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Center for Veterinary Medicine and the food components of the Office of Regular Affairs, according to Gottlieb’s letter.

“Mr. Yiannas is a globally renowned food safety and supply chain expert and thought leader,” Gottlieb wrote. “He’s been recognized for his role in elevating food safety standards and building effective food safety management systems based on modern science and risk-based prevention principles.”

Before joining Walmart, Yiannas worked for The Walt Disney World Co. as director of Satiety and Health. He is also an adjunct professor at Michigan State Univ. in the Food Safety Program. He is the author of “Food Safety=Behavior: 30 Proven Techniques to Enhance Employee Compliance.”