WASHINGTON, June 27, 2023—Joseph Scimeca, PhD, senior vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), issued this statement today in response to Commissioner Robert Califf’s proposed changes to the Human Foods Program (HFP) and the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

“IDFA appreciates Commissioner Califf’s routine updates and transparency as the FDA moves forward with the redesign of its human food programs. We applaud the agency for acknowledging that it has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be bold in the redesign of its human food program, which is crucial to establishing a foods program that can move at the speed of industry and the consumer while being most protective of public health. 

“IDFA agrees with the agency’s continued focus on breaking down silos, unifying its food program, and emphasizing that the deputy commissioner for the human foods program will be responsible for coordinating closely with the FDA lead for the animal foods program and the office of regulatory affairs. We appreciate the Commissioner reiterating that the deputy commissioner will have full responsibility for setting the strategic direction of HFP, and for formulating and executing the program’s budget. 

“IDFA applauds the changes announced relative to ORA, particularly the refocusing of the office on inspections and outbreak investigations while also addressing duplication of efforts and overhead. We encourage FDA to reassign cooperative programs staff—particularly those that oversee the Grade A dairy program—to the Human Foods Program.”

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.2 million jobs that generate $49 billion in direct wages and $794 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent most of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.