FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is set to step down in one month, leaving a number of ag and food regulatory efforts hanging in the balance.

News of Gottlieb’s resignation came to light Tuesday afternoon. In a statement, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Gottlieb had been “an exemplary public health leader, aggressive advocate for American patients, and passionate promoter of innovation.”

“Scott’s leadership inspired historic results from the FDA team, which delivered record approvals of both innovative treatments and affordable generic drugs, while advancing important policies to confront opioid addiction, tobacco and youth e-cigarette use, chronic disease, and more,” Azar added. “The public health of our country is better off for the work Scott and the entire FDA team have done over the last two years.”

Gottlieb’s resignation letter trumpeted accomplishments on everything from the use of e-cigarettes in teens to the opioid crisis, but he also worked on a number of farm policy priorities during his tenure.

Last year, he took on a measure long sought by the dairy sector by beginning the rulemaking process on standards of identity for products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Dairy stakeholders had long called for action as plant-based beverages labeled themselves as soymilk and almond milk, which dairy producers viewed as misleading to consumers.

Gottlieb was also at the helm of FDA as the agency worked with USDA to develop a joint regulatory framework to regulate cultured meat as both governmental arms tried to assert jurisdiction. That framework, which Gottlieb recently said would be out within weeks, will allow the products to come to market.

Gottlieb’s resignation will come after about 23 months on the job.

President Donald Trump used his Twitter feed to praise Gottlieb, who he said "has done an absolutely terrific job" as FDA commissioner. 

The president continued, "Scott has helped us to lower drug prices, get a record number of generic drugs approved and onto the market, and so many other things. He and his talents will be greatly missed!" 

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