Elizabeth Johnson, acting Under Secretary of agriculture for Food Safety, has left USDA to become executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association. President-elect Barack Obama's administration is expected to name a replacement. Johnson's departure is effective Dec. 5.

FSIS spokeswoman Amanda Eamich told Meatingplace.com the agency will be steered in the interim by USDA officials, including Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Scott Hurd and FSIS Administrator Alfred Almanza.

Obama has yet to name an agriculture secretary. The list of speculated names is still long, but some Washington insiders now point to Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.) as a front runner.

Source: Metingplace.com