On Nov. 12, President Biden nominated Robert Califf, M.D., to lead the FDA. Califf previously led the agency from 2016 to 2017.

“Dr. Robert Califf is one of the most experienced clinical trialists in the country, and has the experience and expertise to lead the Food and Drug Administration during a critical time in our nation’s fight to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic,” Biden said in a statement.

The Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) applauded the move.

“IDFA is pleased to see President Biden nominate a highly qualified public health expert in Dr. Robert Califf to lead the Food and Drug Administration,” Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO, said in a statement. “The FDA is one of the most important regulatory agencies within the federal government because it ensures the safety and security of our nation’s food supply.

“On behalf of our members who employ more than 3.3 million Americans who make and distribute our nation’s dairy products, IDFA encourages Dr. Califf to put the ‘F’ back in the FDA by focusing attention on making FDA more efficient and nimbler for consumers and more responsive to the feedback of industry,” Dykes continued. “For decades, FDA leaders have promised to modernize food standards, for example, while allowing food makers more flexibility for innovation in response to shifting consumer demands and trends. However, food standards have become more complex and onerous, the FDA’s response times on pending rules and petitions has increased, and promises to streamline rulemaking have not been kept.

“IDFA and our member companies are hopeful for a more collaborative relationship with FDA on matters of food safety, food standards, labeling and nutrition and health,” he said. “As a cardiologist, Dr. Califf has a keen understanding of the impact of diet on human health. We hope that as FDA continues to refine its regulatory positions, FDA experts not only recognize dairy’s crucial role in a healthy diet beginning at a very young age, but also allow research showing the benefits of dairy fat to be considered in federal nutrition guidance. No other type of food or beverage provides the range and density of nutrients that dairy contributes to the American diet.

“IDFA congratulates Dr. Califf on his nomination and, should he be confirmed, looks forward to a productive relationship with FDA under his leadership,” Dykes added.