FDA Should Rethink Decision to Disband Its Food Advisory Committee

FDA Should Rethink Decision to Disband Its Food Advisory Committee

The Pew Charitable Trusts, together with nine public interest organizations and seven individuals who have served on the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Advisory Committee, wrote to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Dec. 20, urging his agency to transparently explore ways to reconstitute the committee. The letter was sent in response to the FDA’s Dec. 12 announcement that the agency intends to immediately discontinue the 25-year-old advisory committee, which was designed to provide expertise on food microbiology, food science, epidemiology, toxicology, and nutrition science. Given the wide range of food-related issues before the agency, including the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the decision to eliminate this independent body without notice or consultation raises serious concerns.


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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.