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FDA Food Safety Program Needs a Revamp: Panel

Program needs an overhaul with greater attention paid to strong leadership and a more proactive culture

By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration foods program is in “constant turmoil” and needs stronger leadership, a panel said Thursday.

The Reagan-Udall Foundation, a group with close ties to the FDA, released a 51-page report Tuesday noting the need for a clear mission in the program and more urgency to prevent illness outbreaks. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., first sought the review in July. The group called for restructuring the program’s leadership and culture to address chronic public health issues and food crises.

The report did offer suggestions such as creating a separate food agency at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Other suggestions were creating a deputy commissioner for foods or putting the FDA commissioner directly in charge of the foods program.

As it stands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides oversight for some foods. Meanwhile, the FDA oversees not just foods, but drugs and medical devices for humans and for veterinary uses.

“I will be fully engaged to ensure that the program comes out of this transition,” Califf said in a statement after the report was released. Califf added that he plans to oversee the foods program himself while reviewing the report and consulting with experts.

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