U.S – Dr. Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D., the Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has announced that she will be resigning from her position on May 31, 2023.
Her decision comes at a time when the FDA is transforming, including the restructuring of the Human Foods program and portions of the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA).
Mayne is the only female and one of the longest-serving CFSAN Directors. She has served as Director of the Center for the past eight and a half years.
She worked for nearly three decades as a teacher and researcher at Yale University, where she concentrated on the health effects of diet and nutrition, before joining the FDA as the Director of CFSAN.
She served in two notable leadership roles during her career at Yale: Chair of the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Associate Director of the Yale Cancer Center, where her work ranged from the molecular to the population level.
At Yale, she held an endowed chair as the C.E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology. More than 17,000 people have cited her scholarly works.
Since 2021, Dr. Mayne has been eligible for retirement. In her resignation letter, she voiced her support for FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D.’s new vision for the agency’s Human Foods program and acknowledged that the agency’s transformation had inspired her decision.
“While [CFSAN] has evolved to a new level of performance and delivery over the past eight years, it is necessary that FDA look critically at the broader foods program structure to reduce redundant operations, increase efficiencies, and make optimal utilization of our field resources. The Commissioner’s proposal will address these issues, enabling the transition to an even better Human Foods Program for the future, which I strongly support.
“As we enter this new phase, I have decided that it is time for me to pass the leadership baton to a new generation of leaders who can commit to implementing the Commissioner’s vision in the coming years,” Dr. Mayne wrote.
Dr. Mayne played a significant role in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) during her tenure at the FDA. She helped update nutrition facts and menu labeling requirements, denied trans fats the designation of generally recognized as safe (GRAS), established sodium reduction targets for industry, issued the first “no questions” letters for cultivated meat products and led the standardization of whole genome sequencing.
Her resignation follows the recent resignation of Frank Yiannas, a senior FDA official who served as the agency’s Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response.
In his resignation letter, he cited his concern that the decentralized structure of the foods program significantly impaired the FDA’s ability to operate as an integrated food team and protect the public.