TAKE ACTION: If in the U.S., please e-mail your strong opposition to Dennis Wolff as Undersecretary for Food Safety: http://bit.ly/2DwNSK
On Saturday it was reported
that Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff is stepping
down from his position to “pursue opportunities in agriculture in the
private sector.” This is not surprising, considering that PA governor
Ed Rendell was looking to get rid of Wolff.
But now that Wolff is hunting for a job, we thought it valuable here at
Civil Eats to revisit why Dennis Wolff is not qualified for the role as
head of the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the USDA — a vital position overseeing America’s meat, egg and dairy supply — where he has previously been floated as a candidate.
The position has been vacant for months, perhaps because of the difficulties finding a candidate
without lobbying ties that industry lobbyists won’t kick up too much
dust about. But food safety is one of the most pressing domestic issues
our country faces, and meat specifically has seen massive recalls as of
late. The head of FSIS will by necessity need to take a more regulatory
position at the USDA — a place ridden with conflict of interest between
promoting agriculture and regulating it — if we have hope of eating
safer food. Therefore having someone in charge of this essential agency
with experience and without industry ties is critical.
Unfortunately Wolff is disqualified on both counts. Not only does he have no previous food safety experience,
but Wolff also is best known for siding with Monsanto to push for a ban
on labeling rBGH, a growth hormone, in milk (we’ve written more about
the politics and health effects of rBGH here, here, and here).