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Some parts of the Obama administration are moving faster than others. The Washington Post reports this morning that the White House has had difficulty picking someone to fill the food safety post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Obama has finally picked Elizabeth Hagen, a 40-year-old doctor who has limited experience with food safety issues. Consumer groups are puzzled by the choice. The folks over at the American Meat Institute are pleased. The administration’s first choice for the post, Mike Doyle at the University of Georgia, dropped out of the running after he was told he’d have to give up a patent he held for a meat cleansing wash.
Meanwhile, over at the Department of Justice, the antitrust division is going full bore. The DOJ has formalized its investigation of Monsanto and has filed suit against the mild producer Dean Foods, seeking to undo Dean’s acquisition of two dairy companies in Wisconsin. (The Bush administration didn’t file one major anti-monopoly case.) Dean Foods now controls 57 percent of the market for processed milk in northeastern Illinois, Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan.