Bronaugh, Yiannas to leave posts at USDA, FDA
USDA deputy secretary and FDA deputy commissioner for the Office of Food Policy and Response have both submitted their resignations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) deputy secretary and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) deputy commissioner for the Office of Food Policy and Response have both submitted their resignations in recent days.
USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh will leave the department in the coming weeks to spend more time with her family, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an announcement on January 26.
“Deputy Secretary Bronaugh has accomplished a lot during her tenure at USDA and much of her work will be felt well into the future,” Vilsack said. “She has been instrumental in advancing equity and opportunity, strengthening the international trade relationships that benefit our domestic producers, enhancing food assistance programs to help those in need, and increasing engagement in innovation and research key to expanding sustainable agriculture practices.”
Bronaugh served as co-chair of USDA’s first-ever Equity Commission, an independent body that will provide recommendations for how USDA and Congress can take action to remove systemic inequities and reduce barriers that hamper access to USDA programs and policies. She was also instrumental in establishing a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Office (CDIO) within the Office of the Secretary (OSEC) to institutionalize and sustain USDA’s governance and management of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, while contributing to attracting and retaining a workforce that is proud to represent USDA.
“Through her work and leadership, Dr. Bronaugh has set a powerful example for the next generation of agriculture leadership. She’s broken glass ceilings as the first African American and person of color to ever serve in her role at USDA and made history while inspiring many more- especially young people- to serve in the future, within USDA and throughout the food and agricultural sector. The Department, all those who we serve, and I personally have greatly benefited from her service, knowledge and commitment to USDA’s mission, and very much respect her decision to put family first,” Vilsack said.
Yiannas makes suggestions for FDA’s future
Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for the Office of Food Policy and Response at the FDA, has informed Commissioner Robert Califf that he will resign his position, effective February 24, according to reports. Yiannas held this position since December 2018 and was instrumental in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
In his resignation letter, Yiannas told Califf that he believes “the agency would operate more effectively and be better able to protect the American public from foodborne illness, with the creation of a more integrated operating structure and a fully empowered and experienced Deputy Commissioner for Foods, with direct oversight of those centers and offices responsible for human and animal foods. In this manner, she or he can more efficiently make the necessary changes that are needed to transform FDA’s Food Program for the 21st Century.”
He also urged Califf to consider transferring the “small, yet exceptional” staff of the Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR) to a new office of the Deputy Commissioner for Foods.
Yiannas spoke at the 2018 Chicken Marketing Summit, presented by WATT Global Media, when he was vice president of food safety at Walmart.