JBS hires former USDA food safety chief

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Alfred Almanza joined JBS after nearly 40 years with FSIS. Image courtesy of the USDA
Alfred Almanza joined JBS after nearly 40 years with FSIS. Image courtesy of the USDA

Related tags Food safety Management Beef Pork Poultry

Brazilian meatpacker JBS has appointed the former head of the US government’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to overhaul meat quality control, following earlier claims of unhygienic standards.

Al Almanza was named global head of food safety and quality assurance last week. He joins JBS after it, along with other Brazilian firms, recently faced allegations of food quality issues following the rotten meat scandal in March 2017​.

Almanza will lead the company’s global food safety efforts to ensure all of the meatpacker’s global sites implement the highest food safety, quality control and risk management systems. He will also look at how improvements can be made to help JBS unlock new export markets, by strengthening phytosanitary standards.

JBS ‘privileged’ to hire Almanza

I am excited to start this new chapter of my career as a part of the JBS global team,​” said Almanza in a press statement.

It was an honour to serve the public as a member of the USDA team and help uphold its mission to protect public health for nearly four decades. I now join a team that shares my commitment to food safety and feeding the world in a safe, sustainable way. I look forward to helping JBS maintain the highest food safety levels in the industry, and putting in place the best-in-class benchmarks and safeguards to ensure that our products continue to exceed all industry standards.​”

Almanza - the man to unlock new markets?

Almanza was appointed on 3 August. He will report directly to JBS global president of operations Gilberto Tomazoni.
In a statement on the appointment, Tomazoni said: “We are delighted to bring Al’s expertise and passion for food safety, quality and public health to the JBS team.

During his long and storied career at FSIS, Al earned the respect and admiration of his peers for his team-based management approach and his willingness to partner with both industry and public health organisations to ensure the provision of safe, quality food to consumers. JBS is privileged to have someone of Al’s calibre join our company.​”

Who is Alfred ‘Al’ Almanza?

Globally recognised as an expert of food safety, risk management, the development of modern inspection systems and sanitary standards that govern market access for meat and poultry, Almanza seems like the perfect fit for JBS. He began his career with the USDA as a food safety inspection officer in a small Texan plant, before rising to deputy under-secretary of food safety for former agricultural secretary Tom Vilsack. For the past decade, he has served as FSIS administrator, leading a 7,000-strong team.

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