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FDA announces restructuring in response to infant formula crisis

FDA announces restructuring in response to infant formula crisis Baby food, Dairy & Soy Food, Pan-industry Food and Beverage Business FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has announced a restructuring of its food division following the 2022 infant-formula crisis. The new structure aims to oversee human food supply chains and agricultural products more efficiently, making the agency “more efficient, nimble, and prepared for the ever-changing and complex industries” it regulates. This restructuring will take effect on 1 October.

The FDA faced criticism for its slow response to the infant-formula crisis, which began with a recall by Abbott Laboratories due to salmonella contamination at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan. This led to shortages as the company shut down the site, necessitating emergency government measures to import supplies from abroad.

Last August, James Jones was appointed as the FDA’s first deputy commissioner for human foods to oversee the creation of the Human Foods Program (HFP). The details of this reorganization have now been unveiled.

The HFP will absorb the responsibilities of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Office of Food Policy and Response, along with key functions from the Office of Regulatory Affairs, which will be renamed the Office of Inspections and Investigations.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, who oversees Jones, hailed this move as “a significant milestone.” He expressed satisfaction with the agency’s transformative vision and the imminent realization of the largest reorganization in recent history.

The restructuring is expected to enhance the FDA’s ability to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply and respond to food-related emergencies such as the 2022 infant-formula shortages. By enabling the field operations unit to focus on inspections, investigations, and imports, the FDA aims to improve its core mission.

These changes align with recommendations from a 2022 independent review by the Reagan-Udall Foundation, which assessed ways for the agency to enhance its oversight of the food sector.

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