Food Safety Czar named

Dr. David W.K. Acheson, a former University of Maryland medical school professor and (until yeterday) chief medical officer at the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety center was appointed to the newly instituted Food Safety Czar position.

I’m not exactly sure what the the Food Safety Czar job entails. I presume it means that Dr. Acheson is the go to guy in evaluating and improving the current food safety programs until he is shot dead in a basement by militant Bolsheviks. Is it just me, or is entitling someone with the term “Czar” completely missing the point of both democracy and capitalism? Isn’t “Czar” a synonym for “autocrat”?


At any rate, Dr. Acheson is off to a rousing start. From the article:

During a conference call with reporters updating the pet food contamination, Acheson, 51, declined to answer what was different about his new job. “The goal is to develop a strategic way of thinking, moving into the future, acknowledging there has been change,” he said.

Or, if I can translate his poli-speak into English.”I don’t know what’s going on yet. Talk to me in 90 days”.

I’m willing to give him a wait-and-see approach. Here’s what to look for to determine if this new position carries any weight, or if it’s simply an empty gesture.

  • The FDA gets increased funding
  • The USDA and FDA get stronger legal authority to enforce current regulations against big industries.
  • The FDA puts more investigators into the field.
  • Less stringent rules and regulations will be set for smaller farms and businesses.
  • More plans are put into place that deal with prevention of food-borne illness outbreaks.
  • The various industrial food lobbies will lose some of its power to influence regulation regarding food safety.

I’m not holding my breath that any of these will occur.

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