The U.S. Senate has narrowly confirmed Robert Califf, MD, as FDA commissioner, ending a year-long vacancy in that space. The tally was 50 to 46: Six Republicans voted for his nomination and five Democrats voted against.
Dr. Califf, a cardiologist and medical researcher, previously served as FDA commissioner under President Obama. His knowledge on healthcare issues is well documented, but what he might bring to issues of food safety are yet unknown.
Among the food issues that that he will be charged with as FDA lead will be the upcoming regulatory framework on cell-based meat that the FDA is readying and food label issues surrounding definition of terms “healthy” and “natural.” Issues such as CBD regulation and plant-based products that use dairy terminology on their labels will also come under his purview, along with FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety, which leverages tech to create a more digital, traceable food system.