Elizabeth Johnson, designated by President Bush as acting under secretary of agriculture for food safety when Richard Raymond retired Oct. 1, has left the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to become executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association.
Johnson's departure, effective Dec. 5, leaves the post vacant until President-elect Barack Obama's administration names a new food safety chief.
USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) spokeswoman Amanda Eamich told Meatingplace.com the agency will be steered in the interim by existing USDA officials, including Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Scott Hurd and FSIS Administrator Alfred Almanza.
Obama has yet to name his agriculture secretary. The list of speculated names is still long, but some Washington insiders now point to Rep. John Salazar (Colo.) as a front runner.
Reprinted from Meatingplace.com