President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Jose Emilio Esteban as the Under Secretary for Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture. Dr. Esteban is currently the Chief Scientist for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a position he has held since 2018. As Chief Scientist, Dr. Esteban provides scientific advice to support agency policies including the disciplines of microbiology, chemistry, and pathology. This is his fourth position within FSIS, all within the Office of Public Health Science. Prior to his current assignment, he was Executive Associate for Laboratory Services, the Scientific Advisor for Laboratory Services and Research Coordination, and the Laboratory Director for the Western Laboratory, where he started his tenure at USDA FSIS in 2006.

Prior to joining USDA, he worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Staff Epidemiologist, and Assistant Director of the Food Safety Office.

Outside the US Federal Government, Dr. Esteban is also the Chair for the Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Food Hygiene. This committee is where international food hygiene standards are defined for international trade. He is also currently vice president of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). Dr. Esteban was trained as a veterinarian in Mexico and supplemented his training with an MBA, a Master’s Degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, and a PhD in Epidemiology from UC Davis.

Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary, made the following statement concerning the nomination: “Dr. Esteban has a deep understanding of USDA’s commitment to protect the health of the public by providing food safety. Having held several leadership roles in USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), he has a proven, and extensive, track record on this key issue. As we continue to push forward our commitment to create a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system, Dr. Esteban’s leadership will be invaluable to our team.”

Source: USDA, Biden Administration