This week, Robert Califf, MD, FDA’s Commissioner of Food and Drugs, proposed a plan to revamp the food side of the agency. The restructure would create a foods program that would be overseen by a single deputy commissioner.
The proposal, Dr. Califf says, partly comes in response to the Reagan-Udall Foundation review of the agency. The report’s findings, released in December 2022, recommended a major overhaul and reform of FDA.
Under the plan, Dr. Califf says that the functions of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR), as well as certain functions of the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), will be unified into a newly envisioned organization. FDA will search for a deputy commissioner who will oversee the program, but no timeline was given for this key position.
Other key elements of the proposed program include:
- Creation of a Center for Excellence in Nutrition that prioritizes FDA’s ongoing efforts to help American consumers make more informed food choices, including by working with industry to offer healthier, more nutritious food products. The FDA proposes to establish an Office of Critical Foods, as directed by the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, within this center.
- Establishment of an Office of Integrated Food Safety System Partnerships that will focus on elevating, coordinating, and integrating the agency’s food safety and response activities with state and local regulatory partners to more effectively meet the vision of an Integrated Food Safety System as envisioned in the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Dr. Califf also notes that the plan includes creation of a Human Foods Advisory Committee, which will consist of external experts to advise on challenging and emerging issues in food safety, nutrition, and innovative food technologies.
FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) will continue to operate as a stand-alone center and not as a part of the proposed Human Foods Program.