Michael Landa, director of the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)—its food, cosmetics and supplement regulatory body—soon plans to retire from the agency, regulators said Thursday.
Landa, a long-time veteran of the agency, first joined FDA in 1978. Prior to serving as CFSAN director, he served as its deputy director for regulatory affairs from 2004 to 2010, and as counsel for several of FDA's regulatory divisions. Between 1993 and 1999, he worked in the private sector as a lawyer.
But now Landa has set his sights on retirement, Siobhan DeLancey, a FDA communications official, told Regulatory Focus.
Focus first learned of the retirement through a job posting on the US government's federal job board, USA Jobs. The posting, uploaded on 11 June 2014, calls for a new CFSAN director capable of leading a staff of approximately 900, as well as a demonstrated understanding of regulations, standards, guidelines and policies related to food safety.
Landa does not yet have a retirement date in mind, DeLancey said, and the posting is intended to yield candidates to ensure a smooth departure.
"In the interest of succession planning, [Landa] opted to ask FDA to begin the search for an optimal candidate to fill the position," DeLancey added. "This will allow for overlap of tenure and a smooth transition, with minimal disruption to the center’s many important programs."
While CFSAN is best known for its regulation of food products, like food additives and seafood, it also regulates dietary supplements and medical foods. Landa's departure 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.
Curiously, as of 12 June 2014, FDA had already closed its original posting seeking a new director. The agency often posts multiple iterations of the same position description, and it's possible the agency has posted a new position description elsewhere.
CFSAN Director Job Posting