President Obama plans is set to nominate Dr. Margaret Hamburg to serve as the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein will become Dr. Hamburg's chief deputy, according to news reports today. "Dr. Hamburg's nomination would mean that FDA would have the leadership it needs at a time when it faces huge challenges," said Jean Halloran, Consumers Union's Director of Food Policy Initiatives. "Chief among the challenges facing FDA is food safety. The FDA has been understaffed and underfunded for too long, and has not been able to do its job of policing the marketplace to keep it safe."
Last month in a letter to President Obama, Consumers Union asked for a quick nomination of "a new, effective FDA Commissioner who has solid expertise on FDA issues, is committed to public health and safety, and is independent of the industries that the FDA regulates." And with the Not In My Food campaign, Consumers Union has been advocating for a major overhaul of the FDA's food safety program, and issued a statement last month calling Obama's plan "good news."