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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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Meet the Office of Foods

By Gail O’Neill, Contributing Writer, Communications, and Dr. Melanie McLean, Senior Writer/Editor, Communications

Teamwork, simply stated, is less me and more we. It takes teamwork to build a unified FDA Foods Program and best achieve the agency’s public health mission.
On August 18, 2009, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg created the Office of Foods (OF) to lead a unified FDA Foods program. The program includes three major operating units within FDA:
  • the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN);
  • the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM); and
  • the foods-related activities of the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA).
The program also draws on the resources and expertise of FDA’s:
  • National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR); and
  • Office of Commissioner (OC) staff offices.
OF provides leadership, guidance, and support to the FDA Foods Program. OF is the focal point for planning how to implement:
  • the recommendations of the President’s Food Safety Working Group; and
  • any new food safety authorities that Congress may create.
The Executive Leadership Team of the FDA Foods Program includes leaders from OF, CFSAN, CVM, ORA, and OC. The team is chaired by the Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Michael Taylor. A lawyer by training, Taylor was appointed as Deputy Commissioner in January 2010. As a nationally recognized food safety expert, he held numerous high-level positions in FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Taylor was also a research professor and has served as an expert on several National Academy of Sciences committees.

On February 26, 2010, Taylor and Dr. Jeffrey Farrar, Associate Commissioner for Food Protection in OF and also a member of the FDA Foods Program Executive Leadership Team, visited CVM’s Office of Research (OR) to learn about food safety-related research OR is conducting. On March 17, 2010, Taylor again visited CVM for an All-Hands meeting to discuss OF’s efforts to develop, coordinate, and implement the FDA Foods Program. 

On June 28, 2010, Taylor announced the appointment of Philip Derfler as Associate Commissioner for Foods Policy in OF. This position was created to further strengthen the FDA Foods Program. Derfler, a lawyer, comes to OF from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. He previously worked in FDA’s Office of Chief Counsel. Welcome back to FDA, Phil! 

For more information about OF and the FDA Foods Program, please visit: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OC/OfficeofFoods/default.htm.