USA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed reorganization to create a new, unified Human Foods Program (HFP) has been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with full implementation slated for October 1, 2024.

This significant restructuring aims to enhance the FDA’s capability to safeguard the nation’s food supply and respond more effectively to food-related emergencies.

The establishment of the HFP will consolidate the functions of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), the Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR), and key roles from the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) into a single program.

This reorganization is designed to streamline FDA operations, allowing the agency to better implement the preventive measures outlined in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), elevate the focus on nutrition, and strengthen local, state, and international partnerships.

As part of the restructuring, the ORA will be renamed the Office of Inspections and Investigations (OII). This change reflects its core mission of conducting inspections, investigations, and overseeing imports, providing essential real-time insights and science-based evidence necessary for ensuring food safety.

The new structure aims to optimize resource allocation, giving FDA employees clearer priorities and better career opportunities.

FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., highlighted the transformative nature of this reorganization, marking it as the largest in the agency’s recent history. He expressed confidence that the unified HFP would enhance the FDA’s efficiency and collaborative efforts in fulfilling its public health mandate.

The reorganization aligns with the mandates of the recently enacted Food and Drug Omnibus Reform Act of 2022 and the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022, which include the establishment of the Office of Critical Foods.

Industry and stakeholder support

The reorganization has garnered support from industry leaders and stakeholders. Steven Mandernach, J.D., Executive Director of the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), praised the efforts of FDA Deputy Commissioner Jim Jones in advancing the program.

He emphasized the importance of collaboration between the FDA and the human food stakeholder community to enhance food safety in the U.S.

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