The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor has announced that he is leaving the agency on June 1. As part of a succession plan that ensures both continuity in the program and strong new leadership for the future, Dr. Stephen Ostroff will become the second Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine upon Taylor’s departure. Dr. Ostroff led the FDA as acting commissioner until the recent confirmation of Dr. Robert Califf as FDA commissioner.
Taylor joined FDA in July 2009 and was named to this position in 2010. Since that time, he has led the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the most sweeping food safety reform in more than 70 years, 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 can contribute to the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Understanding the importance of dialogue, partnership, and active stakeholder engagement in effecting change, Taylor has sought to ensure everyone had a place at the table in designing rules and taking actions to protect Americans and contribute to a safer, more wholesome food supply.
A nationally recognized food safety expert, Taylor has served in numerous high-level positions at 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 USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and acting under secretary for food safety at USDA, where he spearheaded public health-oriented reform of FSIS, guided the development of new safety requirements for meat and poultry products, and addressed the hazard associated with E. coli O157:H7 in beef products.
Taylor plans to continue working on 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, Dr. Ostroff was named the agency’s chief scientist in 2014, and was responsible for leading and coordinating FDA’s cross-cutting scientific and public health efforts. Dr. Ostroff joined FDA in 2013 as chief medical officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and senior public health advisor to Taylor. Prior to that, he served as deputy director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and as Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Acting Physician General at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania of Medicine and completed residencies in internal medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and in preventive medicine at CDC.
Dr. Ostroff’s expertise in public health and knowledge of food safety, nutrition and veterinary medicine programs will ensure a smooth and seamless transition. Between now and June 1, Taylor and Dr. Ostroff will work closely together, with FDA Commissioner Califf’s strong support, to manage a transition that sustains the program’s momentum on the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for FDA.