Today, Frank Yiannas announced his resignation, via a letter to Commissioner Califf, as Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA” or “the agency”). Yiannas has been with FDA since December 2018. Previously he was the Vice President for Food Safety at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. His last day with the agency will be February 24, 2023. There is no indication yet who will be replacing him.
While at FDA, Yiannas made progress on two Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”) rulemakings issuing a Final Food Traceability Rule and a proposed Agricultural Water Standard. Yiannas also played a role in unveiling the blueprint for the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety.” Among other things, Yiannas also prioritized foodborne illness outbreak response and prevention. His departure should not impact ongoing FDA efforts.
His resignation comes as the agency has been under scrutiny for its handling of food safety, especially with the February 2022 infant formula incident. In recent months, FDA has been indicating new visions are on the horizon for the FDA food program. In his resignation letter, Yiannas shares that he “firmly [believes] the agency would operate more effectively and be better able to protect the American public from foodborne illness, with the creation of a more integrated operating structure and a fully empowered and experienced Deputy Commissioner for Foods, with direct oversight of those centers and offices responsible for human and animal foods.”
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