National Milk, Corn Refiners react to Gottlieb FDA confirmation

The Hagstrom Report

The Senate voted 57-42 on Tuesday to confirm Scott Gottlieb as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, a division of the Health and Human Services Department that has the responsibility for most food safety inspections except for meat, poultry and processed eggs.

Gottlieb’s nomination was controversial because of his past ties to pharmaceutical companies.

Six Democrats joined Republicans in voting for Gottlieb, but Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote.

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern congratulated Gottlieb, saying the group will engage with Gottlieb “on ways to strengthen the safety of the food supply, promote the judicious use of antimicrobials in livestock, and ensure the clear, consistent labeling of foods regulated by FDA,” particularly milk.

“We share Commissioner Gottlieb’s goal of remedying the bureaucratic inertia that has hindered FDA’s work on several issues. This should include the proper labeling of foods that are disregarding FDA standards of identity,” Mulhern said. “For too long, FDA has not responded to dairy imitators’ obvious violation of FDA’s clear definition that milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt must be made from real dairy sources.

“We welcome a more proactive, responsive FDA on the food standards issue to reduce the confusing terminology proliferating in grocery stores and retail food markets,” he added. “This will greatly enhance the credibility of the agency as the federal authority on food labeling, composition and safety.”

Corn Refiners Association President and CEO John Bode said, “We commend the U.S. Senate for confirming Dr. Scott Gottlieb today. We believe his scientific background, coupled with his past experience at the FDA, make Gottlieb well-suited to run such a vital agency. CRA member companies and the corn ingredients they produce can be seen in all facets of FDA’s jurisdiction.”

International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Michael Dykes said, “We are pleased that Congress has voted to confirm Scott Gottlieb as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. His experience as a physician, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former federal regulator positions him to bring a multifaceted perspective to leading the federal agency responsible for regulating the food and beverage industry. We appreciate the agency’s commitment to science- and risk-based food safety policies, especially as it continues to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act regulations.”