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Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has announced her imminent departure from the agency. Hamburg, who is leaving after six years, tells the Wall Street Journal that "it was her decision to leave after almost six years leading the agency because 'this is a difficult and demanding job where you’re buffeted by all sorts of points of view'."

The Journal notes that Hamburg's tenure was "marked by an expansion of food safety regulation and speedier drug approvals," and that she "led the agency during the passage of the Food Safety and Modernization Act, signed by President Obama in 2011. The law is intended to pay for beefed up inspections of production, sale and import of fruits and vegetables, and will involve greater levels of inspection of imported food. Since its passage, the FDA has regularly won more funds from Congress to make the law work despite congressional budget cuts."

The Journal goes on to report that "her temporary replacement will be the FDA’s chief scientist, Dr. Stephen Ostroff. One possible permanent successor is Robert Califf of Duke University, whom Dr. Hamburg recently selected as her deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco."

Following the announcement, Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), released a prepared statement: “I commend Dr. Hamburg for her years of dedicated service as FDA Commissioner.  Under her leadership, the agency successfully ushered in the most sweeping set of reforms to our nation’s food safety system in a generation through the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  She was an activist commissioner in the best sense of the term: personally engaged in the important issues and always seeking the views of all stakeholders.”
KC's View:
Perhaps the most important passage in this story is the part about how, since passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), "the FDA has regularly won more funds from Congress to make the law work despite congressional budget cuts."

There are some who think that FSMA is going to go away, that the FDA will get defunded, that they don't have to worry about the implications of this new law.

Just ain't true.