In a letter distributed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA’s CFSAN) to FDA staff, CFSAN Director Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D. announced that she will be stepping down from her position on May 31, 2023.

Dr. Mayne’s announcement follows the recent resignation of another top FDA official, Frank Yiannas, who served as FDA’s Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy and Response. Her decision was made amidst a time of change at FDA, including a restructuring of the agency’s Human Foods program and parts of the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA). Dr. Mayne, who has been eligible for retirement since 2021, expressed her support for the new vision for FDA’s Human Foods program set forth by FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., and stated that the agency’s overhaul helped motivate her decision to resign.

“While [CFSAN] has evolved to a new level of performance and delivery over the past eight years, it is necessary that FDA look critically at the broader foods program structure to reduce redundant operations, increase efficiencies, and make optimal utilization of our field resources. The Commissioner’s proposal will address these issues, enabling the transition to an even better Human Foods Program for the future, which I strongly support,” Dr. Mayne wrote. “As we enter this new phase, I have decided that it is time for me to pass the leadership baton to a new generation of leaders who can commit to implementing the Commissioner’s vision in the coming years.”

During her time at FDA, Dr. Mayne played a key role in issuing nine foundational rules and almost 70 guidances implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), helped update nutrition facts and menu labeling requirements, denied Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status for trans fats, established sodium reduction targets for industry, issued the first “no questions” letters for cultivated meat products, and spearheaded the standardization of whole genome sequencing (WGS) use for food safety.

Listen to a recent interview with Dr. Mayne on the Food Safety Matters podcast, where she discusses the work she oversaw at CFSAN, such as implementing guidances and policies related to FSMA and the Closer to Zero initiative, as well as her perspective on the future of human foods regulation at FDA amid the proposed reorganization.