The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced the reorganization of its regulatory structure regarding human foods and the formation of a Human Foods Program.

“Today I am announcing a new, transformative vision for the FDA Human Foods Program,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a press release. “I am also announcing a transformative vision for the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA, the FDA’s field-based operations) to support the FDA organization as a whole. The proposed structures for both groups will have clear priorities that are focused on protecting and promoting a safe, nutritious U.S. food supply that more quickly adapts to an ever-changing and evolving environment.”

Under the plan, the functions of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR), as well as certain functions of ORA will be unified into a new organization known as the Human Foods Program.

The FDA will conduct a “competitive national search” for a Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods, who will oversee the program. The position will report to the Commissioner and will have decision-making authority over policy, strategy, and regulatory program activities within the Human Foods Program, as well as resource allocation and risk-prioritization. Other key elements of the proposed new Human Foods Program organization include:

  • Creation of a Center for Excellence in Nutrition that prioritizes the agency’s “ongoing efforts to help American consumers make more informed food choices, including by working with industry to offer healthier, more nutritious food products,” the press release said. The FDA proposes to establish an Office of Critical Foods, as directed by the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, within this center.
  • Establishment of an Office of Integrated Food Safety System Partnerships that will “focus on elevating, coordinating and integrating our food safety and response activities with state and local regulatory partners to more effectively meet the vision of an Integrated Food Safety System as envisioned in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.”

Additionally, a Human Foods Advisory Committee will be established, which will consist of external experts to advise on challenging and/or emerging issues in food safety, nutrition, and innovative food technologies.

FDA’s press release can be found here.