New FDA chief says food agency lacks resources, “consistent leadership” | 19.05.2022
FDA Commissioner Robert Calif, who is already battling the baby mix crisis, told lawmakers on Thursday that the agency lacks the leadership and staff to properly regulate food safety, and has asked for additional funding.
“I understood very well that we need to make major improvements in the FDA’s food sector not because people are bad, but there is a need for consistent leadership and the right resources so people can do their jobs,” Caliph told the Subcommittee on Agriculture. The House of Representatives, which writes the FDA’s annual budget.
Ahead of the hearing, Caliph announced that he was instructing the agency’s deputy chief commissioner, Janet Woodcock, to provide “strategic advice” on planning improvements to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Center for Veterinary Medicine and other FDA-related food offices. , according to a note to FDA staff.
He gave little detail on what would include her assignment, except that she would help “promote key initiatives and, most importantly, continue our efforts to modernize the entire agency”.
Woodcock, like Caliph, is a physician, and her experience is evaluating drugs. She served as FDA commissioner until Caliph’s approval by the Senate in February.
Coalition with Agriculture, the food industry and consumer groups concerned that the FDA is not moving away from food safety issues appealed to Caliph last month create a position that would have authority over food programs. The groups said there should be a deputy food commissioner who will have “direct authority” over the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Center for Veterinary Medicine and components of the Office for Food Regulatory Affairs.
The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rosa DeLaura, Delamination, accused the FDA during the hearings of both overseeing the food industry and dealing with a shortage of infant formula led by Woodcock.
“Food safety is not a priority at the FDA,” DeLauro said. “We need to restructure food safety (on the side) with people who know food safety.”
She also demanded to know from Caliph who is responsible for the agency’s inaction regarding the informant’s report received by the FDA in October 2021 in connection with the production of Abbott Laboratories formulas in Michigan.
“Anyone who looked at this report felt there was no reason to respond. … In my opinion, it was a failure to fulfill obligations, ”DeLauro said.
Caliph said he was not yet ready to answer questions about the FDA’s treatment of the Abbott plant, but he said consumers should begin to see improved availability of formulas “within days.”
He warned that shortages would remain a problem, especially in rural areas. “We need to pay special attention to this,” he said.
During the hearing, spokesman David Valadao, Calif., Pressured Caliph to introduce a process to approve feed additives that could reduce methane emissions by cattle. Caliph said the FDA’s work on the issue was “progressing well.”
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https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/17725-new-fda-chief-says-agencys-food-side-lacks-resources-consistent-leadership New FDA chief says food agency lacks resources, “consistent leadership” | 19.05.2022