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Biological experts have confirmed as the new Commissioner for the United States to the United States FDA food safety

25 May 2009 530 views No Comment

Bioterrorism expert Dr. Margaret Hamburg was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate this week to become the 2nd woman to lead the Food and Drug Administration in the department’s 103 year history. The question remains, however, Drink News if the future of America’s food supply looks safer or not.

Hamburg’s background with bioterrorism might make her just the kind of person needed to handle the out-of-control processed food industry and the woefully negligent rubber stamp of an agency that is supposed to protect the American food supply. The FDA has quietly permitted the number of allowable food additives and preservatives to balloon from less than 200 in 1958 to more than 3000, including nearly 700 of which are categorized as “EAF,” meaning that they have “not yet been assigned for toxicology literature search.”

When nominating Hamburg on March 13, 2009, President Obama characterized the current system of regulating food safety as a “hazard to public health.” Hamburg is reported to be committed to improving food safety, but many are taking a wait and see attitude. Chemistry World reported today that “the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) endorsed the nomination, and lobbied for a quick confirmation.”

Chemistry World went on to point out that drug and biotechnology companies were less than thrilled about the acting FDA Commissioner, Josh Sharfstein, who has publicly criticized drug companies for giving “gifts” to doctors. He also rankled industry feathers when, as Health Commissioner in Baltimore, he launched an investigation into the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines used for young children. With the confirmation of Hamburg, Sharfstein will now become principle deputy commissioner of the FDA.

Many are hopeful that Hamburg and Sharfstein will end the shenanigans that allowed the FDA to run amuck during the Bush administration, when the agency had no permanent commissioner during the majority of the 8 years. Examples of questionable FDA conduct during that time ranged from the Vioxx scandal to allegations of finding mercury contamination in a common food additive and doing nothing.

The Bush adminstration, however, Drink News is not the only one to blame for the rubber stamping of food additive approval. Every administration over the last 25-30 years has watched as the nation’s proclivity for overweight and obesity inched ever higher. It has only been in the last decade or so that the powers that be have acknowledged that the problem is now at epidemic proportions, according the Centers for Disease Control.

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