— OPINION —
As her service comes to an end on May 31, it is appropriate to thank Dr. Susan Mayne for more than eight years of professional dedication as Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Upon her arrival in 2015, Dr. Mayne made it a priority to learn quickly the ongoing issues within CFSAN offices while also providing leadership in an expanded applied nutrition component at the center. She brought a bright and upbeat personality and interacted frequently with CFSAN leaders and other employees on issues impacting food safety, applied nutrition, foodborne outbreaks, recalls, new regulations and a multitude of other items.
During her tenure as CFSAN Director, it was necessary for Dr. Mayne to move quickly through a constantly changing environment of complex issues. She did so with the expert professionalism demanded of a center director. Her skillful leadership and work ethic were key attributes in the successful completion of many CFSAN achievements, such as issuing multiple FSMA rules and guidance documents, along with addressing PFAS chemicals, toxic elements in foods targeting infants and children, asbestos in talc-containing cosmetics, sesame as a major food allergen, and providing consumers with new information on the Nutrition Facts label to support healthy food choices, among many, many others.
CFSAN provided staff with a professional work environment where we worked as a team to address common goals such as promulgation of impactful regulations, clarification of agency expectations through guidance documents, development of strong stakeholder relationships, and informing stakeholders of agency positions through public presentations. Prior to our independent retirements of recent years, both of us had a large variety of interactions with Dr. Mayne and her immediate staff. Those interactions clearly displayed Dr. Mayne’s vision and leadership skills needed to ensure that CFSAN would survive and thrive despite budget and administrative challenges. From a variety of food-related issues to dealing with Covid, or dealing with a 35-day government shutdown, Dr. Mayne provided a steady hand in overcoming obstacles and meeting the next challenge around the corner. For her dedicated leadership over the years, we are grateful to her and wish her well in her future endeavors.
In summary, Dr. Mayne provided strong, deliberate leadership for CFSAN during both smooth and turbulent times. She maintained an even-handed approach to ensure that center priorities and employees received appropriate attention by FDA. The accomplishments of CFSAN under Dr Mayne’s leadership will have a major impact on food safety and nutrition for years to come, and she deserves recognition and thanks for all she helped CFSAN accomplish.
Senior Advisor (retired) CFSAN Office of Food Safety
Mickey Parish, Ph.D.
CFSAN Senior Science Advisor (retired)