Jim Jones, the Food and Drug Administration’s first deputy commissioner for human food, started work yesterday and sent the following letter to colleagues.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf appointed Jones following the agency’s embarrassing turmoil over the agency’s lack of a clear chain of command for food responsibilities. Internal staff and administrators, consumer groups and the Reagan Udall Foundation’s external review board agreed that changes were needed. The agreement burst into public view after an outbreak linked to infant formula in 2022 and a recall months later that led to a nationwide shortage of formula.
Congressional hearings on the infant formula crisis revealed internal failures at the FDA regarding food safety and a chaotic chain of command.
Before being selected to head FDA’s food division, Mr. Jones worked at the Environmental Protection Agency.
During his tenure at EPA, Jones served over 30 years in a variety of roles with the stakeholder community and private industry, managing teams and providing strategic planning and leadership on issues related to chemical safety and environmental sustainability. Demonstrated thought leadership.
Jones has experience reducing the impact of chemicals and pollution on the U.S. food supply. He was the lead architect of the EPA’s 2016 overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act, his first update of the law in more than 40 years.
Jones joins the FDA in the expanded position of deputy commissioner for food, following the February resignation of Frank Yiannas, the agency’s deputy commissioner for food policy and response, and the May retirement of the office’s director, Susan Mayne. The remaining vacancies will be filled. Food safety and applied nutrition.
This is the letter Jones sent to staff on September 25th.
“As I begin my first day at the FDA, I’d like to start by saying hello to everyone and sharing how excited I am to be here.It is an honor to take on the role of Deputy Secretary for Human Foods.Even though the work ahead is to build a new human food program. I believe strongly in the vision that Secretary (Robert) Califf has set forth, and I know that if we all work together, the vision for a unified food program will become a reality.
“I came here to coordinate, prevent, and response activities. I am acutely aware of this great opportunity to modernize and consolidate our food safety systems and strengthen our nutrition improvement efforts.
“Of course, there are many challenges ahead, and we look to you for your expertise, ideas and creativity to build a program that maximizes our collective strength. CFSAN, OFPR and ORA work together By doing so, we create programs that deliver the best results we can and go beyond what we could have achieved individually.
“I will also explore ways to work more effectively with our many stakeholders and leverage their commitment and energy towards achieving our common goal of a safer and more nutritious food supply. .
“I hope you will join me this Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the Human Foods All Hands meeting in Wiley Auditorium, where I will be able to tell you more about myself and my plans for the coming months. A virtual option will also be available.
“I look forward to the important work we will undertake together.
Editor’s note: food safety news had held an interview request with Jones since late August. FDA officials said no interviews would be allowed for the next few days.
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