More than 200 organizations express concern over nomination of USDA chief scientist Scott Hutchins.
The nominations are for Brashears, of Texas, to be undersecretary of agriculture for food safety; Naomi C. Earp, of Maryland, to be an assistant secretary of agriculture for civil rights and Scott Hutchins, of Indiana, to be undersecretary of agriculture for research, education and economics.
Specifically, the nomination of Hutchins has raised concern recently. More than 200 organizations representing farming, food safety and environmental groups urged senators to reject the chief scientist nomination. (Read the full letter here.)
Hutchins would be the third member of Dow AgroSciences’ pesticide and seed division to hold a high-level position in the Trump Administration’s USDA, those opposed to the nomination said. The groups noted that his strong ties to corporate agribusiness and pesticide companies present serious conflicts of interest that will undoubtedly affect his ability to serve as chief scientist for USDA.
Earp was nominated in February, and Brashears was nominated in May.
Brashears is a professor of food safety and public health and the director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. Her research program focuses on improving food safety standards to make an impact on public health. Her work evaluates interventions in pre- and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance in animal feeding systems. These efforts have resulted in the commercialization of a pre-harvest feed additive that can reduce Escherichia coli and salmonella in cattle.