Cardiologist Robert Califf, MD, to direct Food and drug administration as commissioner

WASHINGTON – The US Senate by a 50-46 vote on Feb. 15 verified Robert M. Califf, MD, as the new commissioner for the US Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Califf, a cardiologist and professor of medication at the Duke College School of Drugs in Durham, NC, earlier served as Food and drug administration commissioner from 2016-17.

President Joe Biden had nominated Dr. Califf as commissioner in November 2021. He will change Janet Woodcock, MD, who has served as acting director since January 2021.

Two difficulties facing the Fda are the labeling of plant-primarily based milk alternate options and the probability of legally employing cannabidiol (CBD) in foodstuff and drinks. The Food and drug administration presently does not enable CBD, a hemp extract, in foodstuff, beverages or nutritional supplements due to the fact it is employed in an Food and drug administration-approved drug (Epidiolex). The milk sector has argued that milk options these types of as almond milk and soy milk need to not be labeled as milk.

“IDFA encourages Dr. Califf to put the ‘F’ back in the Food and drug administration by focusing attention on creating Fda more successful and nimbler for shoppers and extra responsive to the suggestions of business,” stated Michael Dykes, DVM, president and chief government officer of the International Dairy Foodstuff Affiliation. “The Fda is one of the most important regulatory agencies inside the federal govt because it makes certain the basic safety and security of our nation’s foodstuff provide. For a long time, Fda leaders have promised to modernize food stuff standards even though allowing meals makers more versatility for innovation in reaction to shifting purchaser calls for and tendencies. However, meals criteria have turn out to be a lot more complex and onerous, the FDA’s reaction instances on pending procedures and petitions has greater and claims to streamline rulemaking have not been saved.”

Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, also outlined the “F” in Fda.

“The COVID-19 pandemic disclosed numerous parts for growth at the Food and drug administration, including the will need for flexibility, transparency and extra nimble selection-building,” he mentioned. “America’s bakers and baking suppliers are optimistic that Commissioner Califf will keep in mind the great importance of the ‘F’ in the Food and drug administration by modernizing, streamlining, and better speaking the FDA’s rule-generating and petition process. ABA and the broader food business welcome the chance to bolster our successful partnership with the Fda, making certain the new administration understands the complex needs of America’s food stuff makers.”

Nancy Brown, chief govt officer of the American Heart Association, spoke in favor of Dr. Califf’s confirmation.

“Throughout his vocation, Dr. Califf has been a relentless force in the combat towards heart condition and stroke,” she explained. “As Fda commissioner, Dr. Califf will place this practical experience to function main the agency’s important initiatives to protect and enhance the public’s health and fitness. The American Coronary heart Affiliation congratulates Dr. Califf on his confirmation and many thanks the Senate for its bipartisan assistance of an fantastic chief.”