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American Meat Institute Honors Texas A&M University's

Friday, October 28, 2005

(Chicago, Ill.,) Former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Elsa Murano, Ph.D., now Texas A & M University vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences, was honored today by the American Meat Institute (AMI) with its highest award: the Industry Advancement Award. The award was presented during the Chairman’s Centennial Gala, held during the International Meat, Poultry and Seafood Convention and Exposition, October 26-29 at McCormick Place.

Murano was nominated by President Bush in 2001 as USDA's highest ranking food safety official. In that capacity, she oversaw USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. According to AMI, in her role at USDA, she helped achieve significant progress in enhancing food safety and maintaining consumer confidence.

While serving as under secretary for food safety, she consistently pressed for science-based and risk-based regulatory policies. For example, USDA's 2003 regulation to control Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products permitted a flexible regulatory approach aligning FSIS resources and oversight with a plant and product specific assessment of any food safety risks. Together with numerous food safety, process control and design innovations within industry, this regulatory approach has helped to achieve a sustained decline in the incidence of L.m. on products and, more importantly, a corresponding drop in the incidence of related foodborne illnesses.

In December 2003, Murano's steady and reassuring assessment of the integrity of the U.S. beef supply during the intense media coverage of our first diagnosis of BSE helped consumers allay any concerns and retain a high degree of confidence in the integrity of the U.S. beef supply.

Earlier, Murano was assistant professor in the department of microbiology, immunology and preventive medicine at Iowa State University and later served on the Texas A&M faculty. She receive a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences is from Florida International University, a master’s in anaerobic microbiology and a doctorate in food science and technology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

According to AMI Chairman Bill Buckner, corporate vice president, Cargill, Inc. & CEO, Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, “An ‘Aggie’ from College Station, TX, came to DC to oversee USDA's meat and poultry inspection program, and the agency and our industry are better because of her tenure as Under Secretary for Food Safety.” However, he said that her talents prompted Texas A & M University to ‘recall’ her into an elevated position. “In this new important role, her contributions to our industry - and her collaborative partnership with our industry -- will continue,” Buckner said.

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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