Consumer Brands calls for urgent FDA reform in Senate testimony

Calls on the FDA to restructure under a single leader for the food program

ARLINGTON, Virginia – The Consumer Brands Association Vice President of Product Policy Sarah Gallo testified before a Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee audience today on how to modernize the FDA by addressing structural and governance issues in the agency’s food program, as these much-needed reforms will directly impact food, beverage and personal care companies around the entire consumer packaged goods industry.

Gallo was one of two witnesses, along with a representative from Consumer Reports, selected to represent the consumer and industry perspective on a private sector panel that immediately followed the FDA witness panel led by the curator Robert Califf.

In his testimony, Gallo urged the FDA to take immediate action to unify its food program under one umbrella, streamlining the siled structure that exists today and establishing greater efficiency. This appointee would have direct line authority over the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the food-related components and operations of the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA).

“The lack of a single, full-time, fully empowered expert leader affects every aspect of the FDA food program,” she says inside her opening statement. “Inefficient decision-making has slowed reviews, hampering progress and even rendering innovation obsolete. Inexperienced and insufficiently trained inspectors are sent to the field. A divided and siled food program undermines communication and collaboration at the expense of efficiency and responsiveness.

Beyond unifying food program leadership, Gallo called on the FDA to take further action, convening a panel of independent experts to address modernizing inspections, labeling and recall processes, addressing e-commerce and emerging technologies and new models of collaboration with industry.

“Ten years ago, we would have thought about modernizing the FDA to keep pace with business. Years later, it is critical that the FDA be reformed to move at the speed of the consumer, meeting their rapidly changing preferences and demands,” she said.

Gallo also recommended that the FDA establish permanent policies that have worked during the pandemic and continue to work in the current operating environment. These include developing remote regulatory assessments, providing “rapid” responses to emerging issues, accelerating the creation of just-in-time best practice documents, and maintaining flexibility in product labeling. food.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the CPG industry, demanding new approaches to manufacturing processes and temporary changes in government policies and regulations,” Gallo said. “Many of these crisis-driven actions have proven to be safe and more effective in achieving pre-crisis public policy goals and should be made permanent.”

Finally, Gallo emphasized that the FDA can and should make some of these changes now and specifically pointed out that the creation of a deputy food commissioner does not require an act of Congress or rulemaking and that in In fact, the position existed under the Obama administration. and worked to ensure programs and monitoring are operating at optimal levels.

“The CPG industry is accountable and responsible to the consumers it serves. Working at consumer speed requires a strong, modernized FDA that is structured, governed, and funded to succeed. That may not be the case today, but neither is it tomorrow’s fate if the FDA chooses to make smart and necessary changes,” she concluded.

Click on here to see Gallo’s full written testimony on behalf of Consumer Brands.


The Consumer Brands Association champions the industry whose products Americans depend on every day, representing nearly 2,000 iconic brands. From household and personal care to food and beverage products, the consumer packaged goods industry plays a vital role in driving the US economy, contributing $2 trillion to US GDP and supporting more than 20 million American jobs.

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