Arlington, VA – Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin issued the following statement on the release of the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s report making recommendations to improve the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Human Foods Program.

“FMI welcomes the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s recommendations released yesterday, and we look forward to supporting FDA leadership as they make the necessary changes within the agency. It is vital that FDA has the appropriate leadership, organizational structure, regulatory authority, resources and internal culture to most effectively carry out its mandate to assure the safety of our nation’s food supply.

“The Human Foods Program and team have strengths but need additional enhancements. FDA was effective in quickly and efficiently providing labeling flexibilities early on in the pandemic that addressed our industry’s concerns. The agency has also increased publication of post-investigation reports that assist the industry in understanding how to mitigate newly identified hazards. Additionally, FDA staff are frequently and readily available to industry – even after business hours – in the event of a food safety issue or concern, which is critically important when challenges arise and must be addressed promptly.

“Despite the strengths of the current program, continuous improvement should always be the goal of both the regulated community and federal agencies like FDA. As part of the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s information gathering phase, FMI provided oral and written comments offering recommended changes to the foods program that would strengthen FDA’s regulatory effectiveness and advance public health. We are encouraged that the Foundation heard our concerns and included many of FMI’s recommendations in its report.

“Food safety is of paramount importance to the food industry. We consistently work to maintain and enhance the safety of the food supply chain so shoppers can have confidence that the items they purchase are safe and nutritious. FMI stands ready to work with the Biden administration, FDA leadership and other government and industry stakeholders to ensure the effectiveness our nation’s food safety program.”