Letter from the Editor: Kiecker speaks out after rising to the top as FSIS Administrator

Opinion

The Meat & Poultry Daily News recently did a question and answer session with Paul Kiecker, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator since last March 12.  It’s worth reading in its entirety at M&P,  and I am going to steal some quotes here.

Kiecker certainly deserves the attention for rising to the top of one of these civil agencies as it is no small feat.

I lived in a Seattle suburb for several years where our mayor was the retired top administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He was my all-time favorite as a mayor because he feared nothing, supported his department heads, and made timely decisions.

At its core, the federal civil service is supposed to reward and promote based on merit. Those who rise to the top should be the “best of the best.” And the system produces some really interesting people.   

We saw that … Read more

The James Beard Foundation Announces Some Awards, After Announcing It Wouldn’t Announce Any Awards

James Beard Foundation [official photo]

I’m confused

In late August, the James Beard Foundation announced that no Restaurant and Chef Awards would be handed out during the organization’s highly anticipated September 25 ceremony. The organization pointed to the restaurant industry’s precarious position during the coronavirus pandemic, and wrote in a press release that “substantial and sustained upheaval in the community has created an environment in which the Foundation believes the assignment of Awards will do little to further the industry in its current uphill battle.”

But in an increasingly bizarre turn of events, it seems the foundation will actually be announcing several awards. The New York Times reports that during the no-awards award ceremony on the 25th, the foundation planned to announce winners in the three Outstanding Restaurant Design categories, including Outstanding Design of Alternative Eating and Drinking Places, a new category this year.

According to the Times, Lori … Read more

FDA floats rule for tracing records on some foods, from some sources, some of the time

The FDA continues to chase a paperless paper trail with the announcement of a proposed food traceability rule. The agency will be taking comments on the proposal for two months.

The proposal is tentatively set to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Comments will be accepted for 60 days after publication. Click here for directions on how to comment.

One part of the food industry that’s been in the outbreak hot seat in recent years was quick to respond to the Food and Drug Administration’s rulemaking announcement. Officials with the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) issued a “been there, doing that” statement just hours after the FDA announcement Monday.

“This has been part of the LGMA requirements since the organization was formed in 2007,” according to a statement from the voluntary industry group. “It appears the members of the LGMA in California and Arizona are already in … Read more

The Entenmann’s Trifecta

Photo by Jen Gallardo/Flickr; logo by Goldsuit

I don’t make the rules, but I’m willing to bet every family in the tri-state area had its three go-to products

Every family in the tri-state area — or maybe just families near where I grew up, with easy access to a bakery outlet store — has what I call an “Entenmann’s trifecta.”

At my house, it was the Entenmann’s mini chocolate chip cookies, marshmallow-iced devil’s food cake, and the mini chocolate-iced doughnuts. For my friend Meaghan, it was the yellow cake with fudge icing, crumb cake, and full-sized chocolate-covered doughnuts. Ramon’s family preferred the butter loaf cake and crumb cake, while their third was interchangeable between cookies or doughnuts. My colleague Hillary’s family also went for the mini chocolate chip cookies, along with the crumb doughnuts; she remembers her grandmother plating the marshmallow-iced devil’s food … Read more

USDA food safety agencies announces plan to reduce Salmonella

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Food Safety (OFS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has a plan to decrease Salmonella, one of the leading causes of foodborne illnesses.

The Roadmap to Reducing Salmonella: Driving Change through Science-Based Policy outlines programs and policies that are science based, data driven, and promote innovation to reduce Salmonella in meat, poultry, and egg products.

“This roadmap represents FSIS’s commitment to lead with science and data in all that we do. It puts us on a course to aggressively target Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens,” said USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears. “I look forward to a continued partnership with the food safety community in driving a science-based approach to protecting public health.”

OFS and FSIS will discuss the Salmonella roadmap at a virtual public meeting next week. Also scheduled to participate  in the meeting are the … Read more