Acting U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock recently talked to the Alliance for a Stronger FDA about budgets for food safety and veterinary medicine. 

Woodcock brought up the issue herself, asking about if food safety and veterinary medicine budgets might be neglected due to COVID-19 and breakthrough drugs. Her response: “My answer to you, and I tell you this very sincerely, is not on my watch."

Her remarks were to an audience of more than 200 stakeholders in FDA's priorities for 2021 with a focus on its data and technology modernization plans. 

“I believe that we have to invest in every program,” she said. “Every program that the FDA has is important. It affects all sectors. Animal health, for example, affects many, many people and so forth.

“Food safety is a critical public health issue. So, we are not going to neglect those, and I am already getting myself up to speed on what we need to do. For example, we just issued the baby food action plan, ‘Closer to Zero’ and I think you will see more activity on our part in the various components of food safety.”

During her 40-minute time slot, Woodcock covered over a dozen topics, addressing both pre-submitted and audience questions, including:

  • FDA’s long-term budget priorities
  • Plans for the $500 million in the recent COVID-19 relief bill
  • Major programs to be implemented in 2021
  • Agency morale and an overworked staff

The Q&A session from the event can be viewed here.