Dr. Elsa Murano, professor of animal science and director for the Center for Food Safety at Texas A&M University, was nominated July 10 by President Bush as Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As under secretary for food safety, Murano would be the top food safety expert in the USDA. She would work with federal agencies, food industry representatives and consumer groups to improve food safety. Her appointment still must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Dr. Murano holds a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Florida International University, a master's in anaerobic microbiology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a doctorate in food science and technology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
She joined the Institute of Food Science and Engineering at Texas A&M in 1995 as the associate director of food safety and has been the director since 1997. Before coming to Texas A&M University, she was a faculty member at Iowa State University.
"Dr. Murano is a recognized national and international leader in food safety and is highly qualified for this important position," said Dr. Ed Hiler, vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M. "She is well linked with food industry representatives and consumer groups and that experience will be invaluable. Dr. Murano has made outstanding contributions and has provided excellent leadership in the Agriculture Program at Texas A&M."
"I am confident that she will continue to provide effective leadership in our national food safety program."
Dr. Murano's research involves the effects of environmental stressors on survival, growth and virulence of food-borne pathogens; intervention strategies to improve safety of animal products; characterization and isolation and identification of emerging food-borne pathogens.
She has been an invited speaker worldwide on food safety and irradiation and has conducted dozens of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HAACP) workshops in the United States and Latin America. Dr. Murano is the current holder of the Sadie Hatfield Endowed Professorship in Agriculture at Texas A&M.