Dr. Elisabeth Hagen

Photo of Dr. Elisabeth Hagen

Dr. Hagen was sworn in as Under Secretary for Food Safety on August 20, 2010. She oversees the policies and programs of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), USDA's public health regulatory agency that ensures that the nation's commercial meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled. She is a principal member of the President's Food Safety Working Group.

Dr. Hagen has implemented significant new policies that have enhanced consumer protection, including: zero tolerance for six strains of pathogenic E. coli in raw beef; a common sense 'test and hold' requirement prohibiting food from entering commerce before critical test results are confirmed; tough new performance standards for Salmonella and the first ever performance standard for Campylobacter in poultry; and improved capabilities for tracing contaminated meat.

Prior to her appointment as Under Secretary, Dr. Hagen served in a number of leadership roles at USDA, including as the department's Chief Medical Officer and in FSIS' Office of Public Health Science. Before joining public service, she taught and practiced clinical medicine. Dr. Hagen holds a B.S. in biology from St. Joseph's University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. She is specialty trained in internal medicine and infectious diseases.

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My passion for public health stems from my career as an infectious disease doctor, watching families cope with the heartbreak caused by preventable diseases, including foodborne illness.  I know what it feels like to explain to a husband in shock that the reason his wife is on life support is because of something she ate that was contaminated with a deadly pathogen. Now, I am the Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department…