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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Michael R. Taylor, Named Deputy Commissioner for Foods at FDA

Michael R. Taylor, J.D., was named Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, on Jan. 13, 2010. He is the first individual to hold the position, which was created along with a new Office of Foods in August 2009 to elevate the leadership and management of the Foods Program. Mr. Taylor is a nationally recognized food safety expert, having served in numerous high-level positions at FDA and USDA, as a research professor in academia, and on several National Academy of Sciences expert committees. Mr. Taylor returned to FDA in July 2009 as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner.

As Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Taylor will help FDA to develop and implement a prevention based strategy for food safety, plan implementation of new food safety legislation, and ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition.

Mr. Taylor began his career as a Staff Attorney at FDA, holding various positions, including Deputy Commissioner for Policy. While at FDA, he oversaw rulemaking to implement the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act and issuance of the proposed rule on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for seafood. Taylor also served as Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA, spearheading public health-oriented reform of the FSIS, guiding the development of the HACCP rule for meat and poultry products, and addressing the hazard associated with E. coli O157:H7 by declaring the pathogen an adulterant in ground beef.

Before returning to FDA in July 2009, Taylor served as Research Professor, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University. His research agenda focused on policy, resource and institutional issues that affect the success of public health agencies in carrying out their prevention-related missions. During that time, he co-authored Stronger Partnerships for Safer Food–An Agenda for Strengthening State and Local Roles in the Nation’s Food Safety System and Harnessing Knowledge to Ensure Food Safety–Opportunities to Improve the Nation’s Food Safety Information Infrastructure.

Mr. Taylor has served on several National Academy of Sciences committees studying food-related issues, including dioxin and animal biotechnology.

Other positions held by Taylor include Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future; Professor, School of Medicine, University of Maryland; Partner, King & Spalding law firm; and Vice President for Public Policy, Monsanto Company.

Mr. Taylor received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his B.A. degree in political science from Davidson College.