Axios reports that Robert Califf, commission of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is calling for the food portion of the agency to be reorganized "under a new deputy commissioner for Human Foods."
Some key elements in the story:
• "Under the proposed plan, the existing Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Office of Food Policy and Response, and certain functions of the agency's Office of Regulatory Affairs 'will be unified into a newly envisioned organization called the Human Foods Program,' per the announcement."
• "The new deputy commissioner 'will have decision-making authority over policy, strategy, and regulatory program activities' within the Human Foods Program, 'as well as resource allocation and risk-prioritization,' Califf said."
• "As part of the plan, Califf suggested the creation of a Center for Excellence in Nutrition to prioritize efforts 'to help American consumers make more informed food choices,' and proposed an Office of Critical Foods within that center."
• "He also proposed the creation of an Office of Integrated Food Safety System Partnerships to better integrate the FDA's food safety and response activities with state and local partners. He proposed a Human Foods Advisory Committee be established as well, which 'will consist of external experts to advise on challenging and emerging issues in food safety, nutrition and innovative food technologies'."
The story notes that the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) argues that the proposal fails "to provide the deputy commissioner with direct line authority over all major food program components or fully integrate the agency's policymakers with its inspection force, the Consumer Brands Association said in a statement."
- KC's View:
The question is whether they're just moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic.
I think that any move that makes the regulatory process more efficient and effective is a good idea, but we'll only know how effective it is by the results.
Me, I just hope any reorganization gives the FDA teeth. Really sharp teeth ... so that when companies violate the rules, the penalties are meaningful.