Wyoming health official named head of USDA food safety agency

Jul 25, 2002 (CIDRAP News) – Garry L. McKee, PhD, MPH, director of the Wyoming Department of Health, has been named administrator of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

In announcing the appointment, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said, "Dr. McKee brings more than 30 years of public health experience to the administrator position. This experience, combined with a solid record in managing public health programs and personnel, will be a tremendous asset as USDA continues to protect the public health by strengthening food programs."

William J. Hudnall, who has served as acting FSIS administrator for the past 3 months, will return to his former position with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veneman said.

The FSIS is responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products sold in interstate commerce or imported are safe and accurately labeled. The agency, which has 7,600 inspectors, is currently overseeing the recall of 19 million pounds of ground beef by a ConAgra Foods plant in Greeley, Colo.

McKee has been director and cabinet secretary of the Wyoming Department of Health since 1999, according to Veneman's announcement. He previously served for 18 years as chief of the Oklahoma Department of Health's public health laboratory and 2 years as its director of sanitary bacteriology. He is also a member of the National Public Health Anti-Terrorism Task Force of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and has been a consultant to the Pan-American Health Organization on laboratory training in Mexico and Guatemala.

McKee earned a bachelor's degree in biology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and master's degrees in public health and environmental science and a doctorate in microbiology at the University of Oklahoma.

See also:

USDA news release
http://www.usda.gov/documents/NewsReleases/2002/07/0302.doc

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