WASHINGTON – U.S. Agriculture Secretary announced the appointment of H. Scott Hurd as deputy under secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday.

Hurd will be responsible for the agency that protects public health through food safety and defense, the USDA said.

"We are pleased to welcome Scott Hurd back to USDA as a senior member of the nation's food safety team," Schafer said. "He has extensive experience in a wide range of food safety and animal health issues that will greatly serve the Food Safety and Inspection Service's mission to protect public health."

Hurd comes to FSIS from Iowa State University where he has served as an epidemiologist in the College of Veterinary Medicine for the past three years, the USDA said. At Iowa State University he led research of epidemiology and food risks affecting human health. Dr. Hurd specializes in salmonella, campylobacter and antibiotic resistance risk assessments.

Hurd is a native of Pensacola, Fla., and received his bachelor of science in biology from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree in veterinary medicine from Iowa State University and completed his PhD degree in epidemiology from Michigan State University, the agency said.