Retiring FDA-CFSAN chief bids adieu at meeting

NACMCF finalizes norovirus control strategies document

By Heidi Parsons

- Last updated on GMT

Norovirus photo courtesy of CDC / Charles D. Humphrey
Norovirus photo courtesy of CDC / Charles D. Humphrey

Related tags Food safety Food and drug administration

The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) has moved closer to finalizing its recommendations on control strategies to reduce foodborne norovirus infections.

During an open plenary session teleconference, NACMCF members submitted their final editing suggestions for the forthcoming document, “Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus Infections.”

Michael Landa, FDA-CFSAN
Michael Landa, FDA-CFSAN

A number of wording changes were suggested by various committee members, and the full committee then voted to adopt the draft report as amended. (The meeting was open to the public, but the document is “pre-decisional — not for attribution or dissemination.”)

Jim Rogers, executive secretary, NACMCF, told FoodProductionDaily there is no set timetable for the committee to present the document to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

“After the report is submitted to the appropriate federal agencies, it will be published in the Journal of Food Protection,”​ he said.

The committee had planned to review the draft of its “DOD Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Poor Process Control or Insanitary Conditions.” However, that consultation was tabled pending further discussion by NACMCF members.

Salutation sendoff

Brian Ronholm, USDA deputy under secretary for food safety and NACMCF chairman, opened the meeting with the statement, “Mike Landa will begin a well-deserved retirement in early 2015.”

Landa is currently the director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and vice chairman of NACMCF. (FDA recently announced Dr. Susan Mayne will take the helm​ at CFSAN when he retires)

Ronholm provided highlights of Landa’s long career with the Food and Drug Administration. An attorney, he joined the agency in 1978 as assistant chief counsel for enforcement, medical devices, and veterinary medicine. He left FDA in 1993 to work in an outside law firm, but rejoined the agency in 2000 as deputy chief counsel.

Among his accomplishments at FDA, Landa set tolerances for the levels of several contaminants in food, Ronholm said.

He then offered his perspective on the agency and its mission. He referred to FDA as a three-legged stool, with the legs being science, policy and law. “Although I’m an attorney, I believe science is the most important leg,”​ he said.

“Science is the foundation of what we do here,”​ Landa added. “If we don’t get that right, we can’t implement policy or law.”

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