Biography of Phil Derfler | USDA
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Philip Derfler
Deputy Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service

Philip Derfler has been Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) since January 2011. In this position, he plays an integral role in ensuring that FSIS continues to fulfill its core mission to protect public health by keeping harmful meat, poultry, and processed egg products out of commerce and consumers safe from foodborne pathogens.

He has extensive food safety experience, having previously served as Assistant Administrator of FSIS' Office of Policy and Program Development for 11 years. In his role as Assistant Administrator, he contributed to numerous and significant FSIS initiatives to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses. Moreover, he was responsible for formulating policy, establishing and modifying regulations, and the design and implementation of new programs.

He has played an active role in promoting greater collaboration between FSIS and its sister agencies, and has served on a number of multi-agency working groups, such as the FDA/FSIS Jurisdictional Issues Working Group and the President's Food Safety Working Group.

Before joining FSIS he served as a senior attorney of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of General Counsel for 18 years, where his main responsibility was handling legal matters involving foods.

Mr. Derfler started his career in public service in 1973, serving as a staff attorney for the Passaic County Legal Aid Society, based in Paterson, N.J.

A native of Fair Lawn, N.J., Mr. Derfler holds an A.B. degree in history from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and a JD degree from New York University in New York City.