The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the hire of a new leader for its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, just months after announcing that the center's current leader, Michael Landa, is set to retire.
FDA said as of January 2015, Dr. Susan Mayne will assume the position of director, CFSAN from the retiring Landa. Mayne, a scientist by training, has extensive experience in nutrition, toxicology and epidemiology, according to FDA.
The agency also touted the leadership qualities of Mayne, who is the chair of the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health and has worked to help pass several public health bills in state legislatures, collaborated with FDA and the National Institutes of Health, and served on the National Academy of Sciences' Food and Nutrition Board.
"As the FDA Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program is transforming the food safety system and taking new steps to address chronic disease and obesity, Mayne is poised to provide strong, optimistic, and inspiring leadership to CFSAN," FDA wrote in an email to industry constituents. "As a public health expert and effective communicator, she will play a leading role on nutrition, food safety, and many other issues while also working closely with the Program to engage consumers, industry, and the general public. She will also provide energetic leadership around science and research, working closely with the dedicated team at CFSAN to enhance the scientific underpinnings of policy."
Mayne joins CFSAN at a time when the food and dietary supplements regulator has been seen as being critically understaffed in some areas. The departure of Landa, who has been with FDA since 1978 and has been the director of CFSAN since 2010, comes just as FDA has lost two other high-level supplement regulators: Daniel Fabricant, former director of CFSAN's Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, and Corey Hilmas, former chief of dietary supplement regulation implementation at FDA. Both Fabricant and Hilmas left to join the Natural Products Association, a supplements trade group. FDA has not yet found a permanent replacement for Fabricant.
In a statement to NutraIngredients-USA, Fabricant praised the hire of Mayne, saying she brings "credibility, energy and focus" to the role. Fabricant also regarded as positive Mayne's scientific background. "It's good for everyone having someone who can engage the public on the science because it's a scientific agency," he reportedly told the publication.