After a baby formula crisis and a scathing critique of the FDA's disjointed structure, Commissioner Robert Califf said on Tuesday he would reorganize the agency to put food safety offices under the control of a powerful deputy commissioner. Consumer groups generally applauded Califf's plan as a step forward, although some critics called for more sweeping reforms, such as creation of a separate agency for food safety.
If FDA commissioner Robert Califf listens to outside advice, he would create a powerful post — deputy commissioner for food — as part of restructuring of the agency. Califf could unveil a "new vision" for the FDA — which has been criticized as a disorganized protecter of the food supply — as early as Tuesday. The common idea from lawmakers, the food industry and public health groups was to put one person in charge of FDA's food offices.
Pointing to a lack of scientific research, the FDA said on Thursday that it would not consider rulemaking for the use of cannabidiol products as dietary or food supplements or in animal feed. Instead, said principal deputy commissioner Janet Woodcock, the FDA wants to work with Congress on “a new regulatory pathway” for CBD.
Deputy commissioner Frank Yiannas resigned as the top food safety official at the FDA, effective Feb. 24, in a three-page letter that defended his record and criticized the agency for a decentralized structure that hobbled its protection of the food supply.
Three months after President Biden signed an executive order to accelerate biotechnology innovation, the administration formally asked stakeholders and the public on Monday to identify gaps, ambiguities and inefficiencies in federal regulation of the sector.
Drug makers sold 11.1 million kilograms (24.5 million pounds) of antibiotics for use in cattle, hogs and poultry last year, up 6 percent from 2021, chiefly because of a large increase in sales of antimicrobials that are not considered medically important, said the FDA on Monday. Despite year-to-year fluctuations, like last year's increase, sales are much lower nowadays than before the FDA barred the use of antimicrobials to encourage weight gain in livestock.
The Biden administration should re-structure the FDA to give more prominence to federal regulation of the food supply with steps that could include appointing a deputy commissioner for food or even splitting the FDA into two entities, one dealing with drugs and the other overseeing food, said a panel of experts on Tuesday. "The current organizational structure lacks a clear leader and decision-maker," said the panel's report.
More foods could carry the word “healthy” on the label under an FDA proposal announced on Wednesday, if they are part of a healthy dietary pattern and recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The agency said it was updating its criteria for the “healthy” label in hopes of improving the U.S. diet.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said Tuesday that he has taken a closer look at the FDA food program and concluded that "fundamental questions about the structure, function, funding and leadership need to be addressed." The statement comes as criticism of the agency, spurred by the recent shortage of infant formula, has mounted.
A crash program to streamline U.S. imports of infant formula has worked so well, the FDA will make it permanent, said agency leaders on Wednesday. The program, which began in May when domestic supplies ran low, has resulted in shipments from nine countries of enough formula to fill 400 million 8-ounce bottles.
Companies from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran would be barred from purchasing U.S. agricultural land under language approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
While Republicans objected to the cost of public nutrition programs such as SNAP, the leader of the House Appropriations Committee said on Wednesday that “we will be doing something about extending the waivers of the school meals programs.” The waivers, a response to the pandemic that allows free meals for all public school students, are due to expire on June 30.
U.S. infant formula makers are revving up production and the door is open to imported formula, so “we should see improvement in a matter of days” from shortages nationwide, FDA commissioner Robert Califf said Thursday on Capitol Hill. Califf also said he would strengthen food safety procedures at the agency, though key lawmakers argued he was not going far enough.
President Biden invoked his executive powers on Wednesday to give infant formula manufacturers first call on ingredients, and announced Operation Fly Formula, which would carry formula from overseas suppliers to the United States. Both steps were aimed at alleviating shortages that followed the shutdown of a large formula plant in Michigan, where FDA inspectors found bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
House Democratic leaders unveiled a pair of bills on Tuesday to ease infant formula shortages and beef up the FDA office in charge of assuring the products are safe for babies. "People are selling samples on the street. Mothers are watering down formula. Quite frankly, they're desperate," said Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, sponsor of one of the bills.
Abbott Nutrition would hire an outside expert and implement a sanitation plan at its infant formula plant in Michigan as part of returning the plant to production and ending U.S. shortages of formula, said the Justice Department on Monday. The largest U.S. maker of formula, Abbott has said it could resume production within two weeks once it has a federal go-ahead but it could take several weeks for products to reach retailers.
The political environment looks promising for Republicans in the House, said Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Wednesday. The political newsletter said two Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee, Sanford Bishop and Antonio Delgado, are facing races that have become more competitive than they once were.
Calling it a step for “much-needed innovations,” 11 agricultural organizations urged an Agriculture Department takeover of federal regulation of genetically engineered food animals, now in FDA’s hands. The Trump administration proposed the transfer — over FDA objections — in late 2020 and it …
Following a safety review, U.S. food regulators said short-haired cattle produced through gene editing can be raised for meat production. Meat from the cattle could be available for purchase in as little as two years, said the Food and Drug Administration.