March 8, 2019
US FDA official takes dairy sector by surprise with resignation news
The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will resign in May this year, taking the US dairy sector - which considers the official as someone who listens to the industry - by surprise.
Scott Gottlieb has led the agency for less than years, according to Capital Press. He was known for addressing the issue of deceptive labeling of 'alternative' dairy products - a problem that was apparently not properly dealt with by his predecessors.
Before Gottlieb took the top position in the FDA, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has been fighting against the use of dairy terminology on alternative products like soy milk for four decades as it persuaded the agency to implement its own standards of identity.
Alan Bjerga, NMPF senior vice president of communications, believes that children could be given inferior products as parents are misled into thinking that such products are equivalent to actual dairy ones.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also raised the issue and the resulting nutritional deficiencies in children in its recommendation that FDA reserve the "milk" label for traditional dairy products "to ensure that children receive the optimal nutrition they need to thrive."
Gottleib shared the same concerns with the dairy sector and under his term as commissioner, the FDA launched a public comment period in October last year. The agency sought to determine consumers' understanding of dairy alternatives in order to better guide its labeling policies.
"The issue [ of misleading use of dairy terminology] is important to consumers and human health. (Gottlieb) recognised that there was a problem," Bjerga said.
- Capital Press