AFFI Commends FDA Creation of Empowered Foods Deputy Commissioner, Calls for Broader Authority and Structural Enhancements

Arlington, VA – The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) commends U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Califf for taking swift action in response to the recent recommendations issued by the Reagan-Udall Foundation for agency reform. AFFI is encouraged by Commissioner Califf’s initial announcement of a new Deputy Commissioner of Human Foods position, which is a positive step toward creating a more efficient and effective FDA that benefits both consumer and the regulated community.

“AFFI welcomes the announcement for a much-needed restructure to the agency’s foods program and thanks FDA Commissioner Califf for his continued leadership,” said Dr. Donna Garren, executive vice president of science and policy with AFFI. “We urge Commissioner Califf to further strengthen this newly-created position in order to better improve efficiencies, agency collaboration and communication. We remain committed to working with FDA leadership as changes are implemented to create a modern food safety agency that is properly equipped and organized to support public health.”

There remain additional key enhancements and refinements that the agency can take as it finalizes the creation of this new position and agency staff.

  • Broaden the Authority of a Deputy Commissioner for Foods in Order to Create Substantive Structural Enhancements

The agency is best served by a Deputy Commissioner of Foods who has direct authority over all components of FDA’s human and animal foods program, including the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the food-related components of the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA). AFFI encourages FDA to unify its inspection and compliance specialists who are involved in the agency’s human and animal foods program to eliminate any existing silos and inefficiencies identified by the Reagan-Udall Foundation.

  • Create a Foods Program Structure and Leadership Model that Supports Its Mission to Protect Public Health

AFFI calls for the structure of an FDA Foods Program that engages in a modern, risk-based food safety approach. A Deputy Commissioner of Foods should also have an in-depth understanding of the food system and be able to oversee all parts of the agency’s food and nutrition programs.

  • Foster Meaningful Stakeholder Collaboration and Transparency During the Restructure Process

AFFI asks Commissioner Califf to ensure stakeholder collaboration, including with consumers and the regulated community, throughout the restructure process to ensure substantive changes that both protect public health and support industry innovation. It is also essential for the agency to maintain full transparency of budgetary needs as restructure plans are announced.

AFFI previously welcomed the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s initial evaluation and report of its human foods program and called for Commissioner Califf to appoint a single empowered food safety leader.

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