Tracey Forfa, a 30-year veteran of the Food and Drug Administration, will become the new director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. She has been CVM’s acting director since December, when previous director Steven Solomon retired.

Forfa was selected after a “robust recruitment and interview process,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said. She will be the first non-veterinarian in the role, FDA said. 

Said Califf: “I know she will continue to apply the center’s guiding principles: protecting public health; regulating based on the best evidence and science; leveraging and collaboration; operating transparently; continuous quality improvement; and strong stakeholder engagement.”

FDA said that because Forfa is not a veterinarian, the agency will soon name a chief veterinary officer to “advise on a wide variety of veterinary issues."

Dave Fairfield, National Grain and Feed Association’s vice president of feed, said although Forfa is not a veterinarian, he believes the soon-to-be announced chief veterinary officer will assist in providing scientific veterinary expertise to support the center’s mission. "CVM’s activities to protect human and animal health obviously need to be based on sound science. The combination of Ms. Forfa’s extensive policy experience and the chief veterinary officer’s scientific expertise should provide a framework to advance reasonable regulatory approaches," Fairfield told Agri-Pulse.

Dana Brooks, president and CEO of the Pet Food Institute, told Agri-Pulse she’s had the opportunity to work with Forfa for the last four years on very difficult issues and she’s “more than qualified for this position.”

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Brooks added, “Tracey garners tremendous respect from the industry and she has a solid footing at FDA since joining the agency in 1993. PFI members and staff look forward to working with her in this new leadership capacity.”

Fairfield also said NGFA looks forward to continuing to work with Forfa in her new role. “Her deep experience at FDA and knowledge of animal and public health issues are valuable assets to the agency and its goals," he said. "Under her leadership, we look forward to working with her to continue to advance reasonable regulatory approaches that ensure the safe supply and use of animal food products."

American Feed Industry Association President and CEO Constance Cullman said AFIA has “no doubt” that Forfa’s knowledge of the animal food industry will serve the agency well as it looks to modernize its regulatory processes to keep up with scientific advances in animal nutrition and help the United States regain its global competitive edge. “With its planned reorganization of the food program, the FDA is at a critical juncture, and we are confident that Tracey will be the effective leader Commissioner Robert Califf and the animal food industry needs to ensure the unique products the CVM regulates are properly addressed.”

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