The head of the Food and Drug Administration's food safety and nutrition arm responded Tuesday to a Politico article criticizing the pace of the agency's work on food safety, saying her division is working with limited resources and funding.
"I see a program that has gotten more done in the past seven years than probably any time in its history without having any significant increase in size and despite being under a deregulatory administration for four of those years and an ongoing global pandemic," Susan Mayne, the director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said during an Alliance for a Stronger FDA webinar.
Mayne said the agency has fewer than 10 employees working on toxics in food and fewer than 10 on infant formula regulations. Its entire nutrition group, which includes allergen labeling, infant formula and medical foods, is staffed by under 70 people.
According to Mayne, the budget for FDA's tobacco division is nearly 30 times larger than the budget for CFSAN.
The FDA is asking Congress to increase its food program budget to $1.2 billion in the 2023 omnibus spending bill. Mayne said this action would help bolster the agency's efforts on nutrition labeling, PFAS exposure, food additives and other programs.
"We have very few staff in some of these areas, so with additional resources and with more support, we can do more," she said.
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