Perhaps not as far as I would have gone – “Get the F out of the FDA” – but a major step in the right direction to elevate Food Safety and Human Nutrition at the FDA. Now, the question is will the FDA, HHS Secretary and the President ignore the House Appropriations Committee?
Well, it seems that the House of Representatives is paying attention to the FDA. Here is what House Appropriations Committee just released directing a restructuring – skip to page 79.
“Human Foods Program Restructuring.—The Committee directs FDA to unify the foods program under an expert, empowered Deputy Commissioner for Foods with full line authority over CFSAN, the food and feed-related activities of the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and all the food-related components of the Office of Regulatory Affairs, including inspection and compliance, food-related laboratories, import oversight, State partnerships, training, and information technology.”
Here is the full document – http://tinyurl.com/3z8cdcv9
After last years infant formula fiasco, the FDA Commissioner ask the Reagan-Udall Foundation for recommendations as how best to elevate Food Safety and Human Nutrition at the FDA. The Foundation in part suggested the following structural changes:
FDA should increase the visibility and prominence of the Human Foods Program.
Given the economic impact that foodborne illness and diet-related chronic disease have on Americans and the federal budget, it is imperative that the Human Foods Program become more prominent. When compared to the medical products programs within FDA, the Human Foods Program continuously struggles for visibility and prominence. A component of this elevation of the Human Foods Program is strong advocacy to advance the Human Foods Program at all levels of the government, especially at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House, including the Office of Management and Budget.
The Human Foods Program should have clear lines of authority.
Within the Human Foods Program, the importance of nutrition should be elevated.
The foods portfolio of ORA should be integrated directly with the other elements of FDA’s Human Foods Program.
The food-relevant work of CVM should be integrated with the overall FDA Human Foods Program.
A new Foods Advisory Committee, at the Commissioner-level, should be established to strengthen external input to Human Foods Program activities.
Structure changes should be implemented with cultural transformation efforts.
Honestly, this is what I focused on. I am convinced if you get the structure right and the right leaders in place, the culture will develop, and the resources will be available. The Panel had five structural option. My preference is the first one:
The House Appropriations Committee (the folks with the cash) seem to like this one:
Here is the full Reagan-Udall Foundation report:
So, what will the FDA, HHS Secretary and the President do? Grab the popcorn.