FDA To Evaluate Food, Tobacco Activities To Strengthen Operations

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is evaluating its activities related to food and tobacco to strengthen operations for better public health.

In a statement, Robert Califf, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, said external agency experts have been commissioned to conduct a comprehensive evaluation for two of the agency’s key programs, Human Foods Program as well as The Center for Tobacco Products or CTP.

The Reagan-Udall Foundation, an independent partner organization for the agency, will be working with an external group of experts on the evaluation. This includes an initial assessment of the processes and procedures, resourcing, and organizational structure for the Foods program and CTP.

In the Human Foods Program, the Office of Food Response and Policy or OFPR, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition or CFSAN, as well as relevant parts of the Office of Regulatory Affairs or ORA will also be evaluated.

In the review, fundamental questions about the food program’s structure, function, funding and leadership, as well as the agency’s inspectional activities related to the program will be addressed. This is done particularly in light of stresses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the agency, the food program has been stressed by the increasing diversity and complexity of the United States’ food systems and supply chain, even though the country’s food supply is safe, and the program experts have significantly contributed to the availability of more nutritious food options.

Further, in the review of CTP, it will be determined how the agency will navigate complex policy issues and determine enforcement activities for an increasing number of novel products with potentially significant consequences for public health.

During the evaluation, CTP will continue its important work, including review pending applications and take enforcement actions as needed.

Califf said the Foundation, following its review, will report its findings to the agency within 60 business days of initiation.

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