Gregory Lopes of the Washington Times reports tomorrow that the beleaguered Food and Drug Administration yesterday created a new post to defend the nation against contaminated products in the wake of safety scandals ranging from pet food to peanut butter. The primary agency in charge of the nation’s food supply is taking the first proactive step since the food safety crisis began by naming David Acheson as the first assistant commissioner for food protection, the FDA announced yesterday.
Dr. Acheson will “provide advice and counsel to [FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach] on strategic and substantive food safety and food defense matters,” the agency said.
The announcement is the first step the agency has taken since the food safety crisis began last summer when E. coli bacteria was found in bagged spinach in 26 states. The incident was followed by a salmonella outbreak in Peter Pan peanut butter, and problems have carried over into this year when it was discovered pet food contained a dangerous chemical that now could find its way into human food.
Wasn’t it Dr. Acheson who had that great response when asked if spinach was now safe? His response was “it is as safe as it was before the outbreak.” So, what happened to the last Czar?
Seattle Times weighed in this last Sunday:
Don’t gag, but food czar needed
The Food and Drug Administration’s new focus on food safety, especially on imports, is overdue. But meaningful progress will be made only when Congress allocates more resources to increase inspections and create a surveillance system to spot problems early.