Dr. José Emilio Esteban
Dr. José Emilio Esteban was sworn in as under secretary for food safety on January 4, 2023. In this role, Dr. Esteban leads the Office of Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), overseeing the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which has regulatory oversight for ensuring that meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome and properly labeled.
In August 2018, he was appointed FSIS chief scientist. In this capacity, Dr. Esteban served as the primary scientific advisor on matters of public health and food safety that affect the mission of the agency, with primary responsibility for scientific initiatives within the FSIS Office of Public Health Science (OPHS). Dr. Esteban’s efforts directly supported FSIS’ Strategic Goals 1: Prevent Foodborne Illness and Protect Public Health, and 2: Transform Inspection Strategies, Policies and Scientific Approaches to Improve Public Health.
In 2002, Dr. Esteban joined OPHS as the director of the Western Laboratory. In this role, he directed the implementation of the sampling program and was responsible for the facility, equipment and personnel infrastructure. In 2008, he was appointed as the FSIS science advisor for laboratory services and then as executive associate for laboratory services, where he harmonized the operation of all three FSIS laboratories, maintained operations to meet with the ISO17025 standard and coordinated emergency response.
Prior to joining FSIS, Dr. Esteban worked in several positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 1994 to 2002, he was as an epidemic intelligence service officer; a staff epidemiologist in the National Center for Environmental Health; and an assistant director for the CDC Food Safety Office.
He received his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Mexico’s Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, a Master of Business Administration from the Panamerican Institute, and a Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine, as well as a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of California at Davis.