The Agriculture Under Secretary will be taking up a role in the private sector from mid-December.
“USDA and FSIS have successfully made preventing foodborne illness a real priority,” she said.
“The steps we have taken, from modernizing the agency, strengthening oversight of industry and increasing outreach to consumers has led to safer food and fewer foodborne illnesses."
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack did not announce who would succeed Hagen on an interim basis (the position requires a presidential nomination and Senate confirmation), but said: “Under Dr Hagen's leadership, USDA adopted a new zero-tolerance policy for additional strains of E. coli in beef and adopted new standards to protect Americans from Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry.
“She also spearheaded the effort to develop a new Public Health Information System to better inform consumers about proper food handling and food safety, to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses.”
Seattle-based food safety lawyer Bill Marler told The Hagstrom Report, “Dr. Hagen will be sorely missed. She was smart, had a great sense of humor, tolerated me for the most part, and always knew that her job was one deeply rooted in the health of the consumers of the products she regulated.
"She was one of the very best who has ever held that position.”