FDA Commissioner resigning after only two years in office – Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.to Resign

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), hard hit by the partial government shutdown in early 2019, is facing another challenge as Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., has announced he will resign from his position at the end of March. Gottlieb was a key advocate in regulating e-cigarettes and vaping. A physician, Gottlieb led the way in approving less expensive generic medicines and in trying to resolve the opioid crisis. Commissioner Gottlieb also worked on ways to more effectively prevent and track outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.

In a speech delivered at the NASDA Winter Policy Annual Conference in February 2019, Gottlieb reiterated a 2017 announcement that “routine inspections associated with the Produce Safety Rule, other than for sprouts operations, would begin in the spring of 2019.” The Product Safety Rule established science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.

Part of that initiative, undoubtedly in response to the multiple romaine lettuce e. coli outbreaks, was to provide training to farmers and regulators on food safety procedures. Gottlieb added that “We’re working with farmers, the produce industry and other stakeholders and considering lessons learned from the most recent outbreaks as we work to make sure the agricultural water standards will help protect all produce.”

Tony Coveny, PhD, Infectious Disease Attorney

According to Food Poisoning Attorney Tony Coveny, PhD, and attorney with Ron Simon & Associates, “while its not fair to state that the government shutdown led directly to the decision of Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.to Resign, it certainly made his job more difficult.  At ta time when we, as food poisoning lawyers, were racing across the country in an effort to respond to massive E. coli, cyclospora, salmonella, and norovirus outbreaks, the FDA was running on a skeleton crew.”

FDA’s mission is, in part, focused on “ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply.” The FDA regulates dietary supplements, bottled water, food additives, infant formulas, other food products (although the U.S. Department of Agriculture plays a lead role in regulating aspects of some meat, poultry, and egg products), as well as pet food. Gottlieb’s successor has not yet been announced.

For more information about recent food borne out breaks, the FDA, issues prompting Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.to Resign, or to speak to a food poisoning lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901.