Monday, March 16, 2009
Obama and Food Safety Overhaul
Obama Names New FDA Chief
Calling the U.S. food safety system a "hazard to public health," President Barack Obama on Saturday named a new head of the Food and Drug Administration to start overhauling it.
Obama, in his weekly radio address, nominated former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg as FDA commissioner and Baltimore Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein as her deputy, the Associated Press reported.
The president said he would also create a Food Safety Working Group to coordinate food safety laws throughout government and advise him on how to update them. Many of these laws have been untouched since President Theodore Roosevelt's era, he added.
Obama called the current food safety system too spread out, and noted that recent underfunding and understaffing has left the FDA unable to inspect more than a fraction of the 150,000 food processing plants and warehouses in the country.
"That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it will change under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Hamburg," Obama said, according to AP.