A few weeks ago I offered the first 100 people who emailed me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and gave me their mailing address, that I would send them a free t-shirt. To date I have had over 500 requests – so I ordered more. We also hand delivered over 250 to members of the House and Senate. I have also sent several dozen to past and current members of the FDA – home addresses only.
You will also start seeing the below ads on a variety of social media platforms in the coming months.
FDA leadership – well, what’s left – time to pay attention.
GET THE FACTS: WHY WE CAN NO LONGER TRUST THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION TO KEEP US SAFE FROM CONTAMINATED FOOD
Each year, millions of Americans are sickened, and thousands die from foodborne illness. And yet, the leadership of the Food and Drug Administration continues to be preoccupied with drug oversight and overlook food safety. Last Fall the credibility of the FDA again was on the butcher block. This time it was the FDA’s failure to adequately inspect an infant formula manufacturer which led to likely ill children, a recall, a plant closure, and shelves bare of infant formula.
People, including babies, have continued to die needlessly because the FDA has been slow to prevent foodborne illness.
And, the FDA Commissioner has ignored what all the experts – including an independent panel Califf himself commissioned – told him is needed to fix the problems.
It is not only galling, but also tragic that the Commissioner’s so-called plan to fix the dysfunctional structure and culture that allows for messes like the infant formula fiasco, ongoing foodborne illness outbreaks and the surge in obesity, diabetes and heart disease caused by food.
The changes the Commissioner has proposed stand no chance of fixing the systemic problems with the agency and simply exposes the flaw in having drug experts oversee the nation’s food supply.
What’s the Solution?
It is time to “GET THE F OUT OF THE FDA.” The F is Food. The D is Drugs. We need to separate the FDA functions between Food (food safety and human nutrition) and Drugs (and medical devices). For too long, those at the top of FDA have focused on what they know and care about – medical drugs and devices. And FDA food issues have been overlooked and underfunded.
It is time the White House and the Congress take responsibility for protecting the public by breaking the FDA apart and creating a new dedicated foods agency. At the same time, they need to reject the Commissioner’s ineffective plan, and immediately direct the Commissioner to unify all parts of the foods program and budget under an empowered and accountable Deputy Commissioner.
I’m not the first to call for a new foods agency. Last year, in an op-ed by Michael Taylor (a former FDA deputy Commissioner) put forth the idea of creating a new foods agency. And, last year Representative de Lauro and Senator Durbin introduced legislation that would establish a separate food agency.
I believe this can work. Food safety is a bipartisan issue. The victims I have represented come from all political persuasions. And it’s an issue that has consumer groups, the food industry and state regulators all on the same page.
That’s why I’ve launched the “GET THE F OUT OF THE FDA” advertising campaign.
On the heels of the infant formula crisis, I’ve launched the “GET THE F OUT OF THE FDA” advertising campaign to urge Congress and the White House to break apart the FDA and create a new dedicated foods agency focused on both food safety and nutrition.
The campaign includes online advertisements, social media promotion, and survivors of foodborne illness coming to Washington DC to visit Congressional leaders and hand out “GET THE F OUT OF THE FDA” t-shirts.
“My goal in launching this campaign is to say let’s make this happen now. I don’t want the failures of the FDA to create new victims I will need to represent. Create a new foods agency and ‘put me out of business, please!’ I don’t want to have to represent families who will have lost their children because FDA doesn’t have the courage to act.”