WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration on March 8 announced Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, will leave the agency on June 1. Stephen Ostroff, who led the FDA as acting commissioner until the recent confirmation of Robert Califf as commissioner, will succeed Taylor as deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.
Taylor joined the FDA in July 2009 and was named to his current position in 2010. Taylor has led the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and guided nutrition-related initiatives to reduce the risk factors for chronic disease and other adverse diet-related outcomes. He has overseen the move to eliminate the use of certain antibiotics that may contribute to the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.
A nationally recognized food safety expert, Taylor has served in numerous high-level positions at the FDA, as a research professor in the academic community, and on several National Academy of Sciences expert committees studying food-related issues. He also served as administrator of the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and acting undersecretary for food safety at the USDA.
Taylor said he plans to continue working in the food safety arena, focusing on those settings where people lack regular access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food.
Prior to serving as acting FDA commissioner, Ostroff was named the agency’s chief scientist in 2014 and was responsible for leading and coordinating the FDA’s cross-cutting scientific and public health efforts. Ostroff joined the FDA in 2013 as chief medical officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and senior public health adviser to Taylor. Prior to that, he was deputy director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and was director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Acting Physician General at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. He graduated from the Univ. of Pennsylvania of Medicine and completed residencies in internal medicine at the Univ. of Colorado Health Sciences Center and in preventive medicine at the CDC.
The FDA said Ostroff’s expertise in public health and knowledge of food safety, nutrition and veterinary medicine programs will ensure a smooth and seamless transition.