November 18, 2021
President Joe Biden nominated Dr. Robert Califf as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, an agency with critical responsibilities for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as regulatory oversight over shell eggs.
Califf, an expert on clinical trials with more than 1,200 publications in medical and scientific literature, previously served as FDA commissioner in 2016-17, at the end of the Obama administration. He is currently a professor at the Duke University School of Medicine and head of clinical policy at Verily Life Sciences.
Califf’s nomination continues the tendency of presidents of both parties to appoint FDA commissioners whose expertise is in health and medicine rather than food and nutrition. Califf should benefit from his previous service at FDA and, presumably, will be able to hit the ground running if confirmed, rather than having to learn the agency’s structure, culture and internal politics.
The FDA’s food responsibilities fall primarily under the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The agency administers and enforces the Egg Safety Rule and sets policy on food labels, claims for nutrient content and health, and other topics that directly affect the egg industry. UEP maintains a close and professional relationship with the agency, including holding regularly scheduled quarterly meetings with more frequent contact as needed.
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