Alfred V. Almanza is the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Mr. Almanza became Administrator of FSIS in June 2007 on a limited term appointment, and was permanently appointed to the position on May 6, 2010. As Administrator, Mr. Almanza leads FSIS and its more than 9,500 employees in the Agency's mission to protect public health through food safety and defense. He has established and maintained a high standard of excellence in a variety of positions for more than 30 years with the Agency.
Mr. Almanza began working for the Agency in 1978, as a Food Inspector in a small slaughter plant in Dalhart, Texas. During his 34-year career with FSIS, Mr. Almanza has managed employees in the field and in headquarters. His breadth of knowledge about the day-to-day operations in the field, coupled with his strategic management focus, make him an extremely effective leader. With a career dedicated to food safety, Mr. Almanza utilizes his vast field experience to shape innovations that are reducing the risk of foodborne illness, and enhancing food safety for all meat and poultry products.
During his tenure with FSIS, Mr. Almanza has promoted and implemented a national management control system that has strengthened the agency's ability to monitor, detect, and respond to threats to public health, dramatically improving management oversight of FSIS inspection and enforcement activity. Under his leadership, FSIS has developed a comprehensive Strategic Plan, which serves as a foundation document for long-range initiatives, as well as daily Agency operations.
Mr. Almanza's regulatory steps against potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 have significantly reduced illnesses from this pathogen. FSIS recently implemented a zero-tolerance policy for six additional strains of E. coli that are responsible for human illness. Furthermore, Mr. Almanza led the development of new Campylobacter and Salmonella performance standards, which hold slaughter establishments accountable for reducing these pathogens in young chickens and turkeys.
Mr. Almanza has also worked diligently to foster productive relationships with the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals and other public health partners. He has advocated and led agency efforts to improve communication and collaboration with all food safety stakeholders, from more effective coordination with domestic and international food safety regulators to targeted consumer and industry outreach.
Recognizing that FSIS employees are the Agency's greatest asset, Mr. Almanza maintains open lines of communication with employees at all levels, and has a natural ability to relate to others, no matter what their background. His easy-going, open demeanor stems from his diverse background and experience.