Caroline Smith DeWaal has left the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) for a new position at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Her last day at CSPI was Thursday.

DeWaal, who served as CSPI’s director of food safety for 21 years, will join FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition on Monday as the international food safety policy manager. Her new job will focus on developing systems for improving the safety of imported foods. She has been doing the international component of CSPI’s work for several years while also managing the non-profit’s staff working on domestic food safety.

Caroline Smith DeWaal
“Now my focus is simply going to shift to be all international,” DeWaal told Food Safety News. While at CSPI, she also focused on reducing pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli in the food supply, maintaining a comprehensive database of outbreaks of foodborne illness, and advocating for ending the use of medically important antibiotics in animal agriculture. Since the 1990s, DeWaal has worked on modernizing food safety laws, especially at FDA. She considers her work on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to be a benchmark achievement for her career. “Now I’m looking at where I can be the most help in implementing the new law,” DeWaal said, adding that imports are an important area that is “probably changing most rapidly in terms of how agencies engage with other countries and the importance of consumer protection.” “She’s provided expertise and guidance while participating in many national and international coalitions and conferences, and she has led the charge to advocate for significant improvements in food safety regulations, funding, and legislation that affect every American,” said CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson, adding, “I know she’ll continue to make significant contributions to a safer food supply in her new position.” DeWaal said she’s “leaving behind a very capable staff here at CSPI to continue the work we’ve been doing.”

  • R Stuart

    Good grief! Will she be unbiased in her new position?

  • Catherine J Frompovich

    An obvious question to ask is: Who’s going to change–the FDA or DeWaal? Hopefully, Ms. DeWaal can instill some common sense within the FDA. Maybe FDA’s outreach for and to someone of her caliber, and past experience at CSPI, is a hopeful sign that FDA sees the need for change in a correct/positive direction.

  • R Stuart

    From the CDC. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes,
    accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in
    the U S. (Source: Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety
    Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Data: Alcohol-Impaired
    Driving. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2014 [cited 2015 May 18]. Available at
    URL: Also according to CDC, in 2013, 818 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported, resulting in 13,360 illnesses, 1,062 hospitalizations, 16 deaths, and 14 food recalls (Source: If we spend as much money on attempting to reduce alcohol-impaired deaths as we are spending on FSMA, I think we would all be safer. Yet all of the pundints still say that 3000 people die each year from food-borne organisms. They conveniently leave out the word “estimated” when reporting the 3000 number. Oh Well!!!