FDA Creates Food Safety Leadership Post

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday announced the creation of a new leadership position: assistant commissioner for food protection, one day after confirming that pet food made with contaminated wheat gluten had entered the U.S. human food chain via poultry. This information came to light as FDA investigated melamine contamination that injured dogs and cats.

Dr. David Acheson, now chief medical officer at FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, will be the first assistant commission and will start by developing an agency-wide strategy for food safety that identifies gaps and problems in policing, FDA said.

U.S. Rep. Rose DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the House Appropriations agriculture subcommittee, has criticized FDA's food safety efforts. FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach answered that FDA is "strategically deploying inspection resources toward the greatest risks to the food supply" and using new DNA technologies to hunt for contamination.

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