FDA official overseeing food policy and response to resign in wake of baby formula shortage

An indication for the Meals and Drug Administration is seen outdoors of the headquarters on July 20, 2020 in White Oak, Maryland.

Sarah Silbiger | Getty Pictures

Frank Yiannas, a high official on the Meals and Drug Administration answerable for the company’s meals coverage and response workplace, introduced Wednesday that he’s stepping down from his function as deputy commissioner.

Yiannas was among the many FDA officers main the company because it navigated its method by means of final yr’s toddler components scarcity after Abbott Laboratories voluntarily shut down manufacturing on the nation’s largest components manufacturing facility following experiences that infants who consumed components from the plant received sick.

His resignation comes days after Abbott Laboratories confirmed that the Justice Division was investigating the corporate over its Michigan child components plant.

“At present, I knowledgeable Commissioner [Robert] Califf that I will likely be resigning my place as Deputy Commissioner for the Workplace of Meals Coverage and Response efficient February 24 ,” Yiannas tweeted. “I’m honored to have served the American public, alongside every considered one of you, over these previous 4 years.”

Since December of 2018, Yiannas has been concerned within the growth and rollout of insurance policies associated to meals security, together with response to outbreaks, tracing foodborne sickness investigations, product recollects and provide chain innovation.

Yiannas’ resignation announcement comes weeks after an skilled panel issued a scathing report on its investigation of the FDA’s processes and organizational construction for its meals program. The panel criticized, amongst different issues, a “tradition, construction, and governance mannequin” that detracts from this system’s effectiveness.

That investigation, was ordered by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf in July, following rising criticism that the company had mishandled the components disaster after sicknesses had been reported.

Yiannas’ resignation letter, obtained by the Washington Put up, referenced inheriting a “decentralized construction” on the company’s meals program he operated, which he mentioned “considerably impaired FDA’s skill to function as an built-in meals staff and defend the general public.”

NBC Information has reached out to Yiannas for remark.

In an announcement, the FDA lauded Yiannas for his service on the company’s management staff, saying his efforts to deal with key initiatives helped “create a safer and extra digital, traceable meals system for our nation.”

“The FDA stays dedicated to offering an replace on steps to strengthen the Human Meals Program on the finish of January and extra updates on the organizational construction, together with how tasks of Mr. Yiannas’ place will likely be dealt with shifting ahead, by the top of February,” an FDA spokesperson mentioned in an announcement.

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