This year’s NBJ Summit will feature a dinner speech titled, “Industry Turbulence—Buckle Up,” and it seems safe to bet that this presentation by United Natural Products Alliance Executive Director Loren Israelsen will include discussion of the recent re-appointment of Michael Taylor to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Taylor, who served as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy from 1991 to 1994, was recently named as a senior advisor to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. As Israelsen is likely to explain to NBJ Summit attendees, Taylor has a long, but not necessarily positive, history with the U.S. dietary supplement industry and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. According to Israelsen, Taylor’s appointment “signals the return of some tough experience and very anti-DSHEA leaders at FDA.”
In his new role at FDA, Taylor will oversee planning and implementation of food safety reform. Some natural & organic industry leaders and activists are also concerned about Taylor’s appointment because of his previous post at Monsanto, a major developer of genetically engineered crops and the company in the crosshairs of the anti-GMO movement, as Natural Foods Merchandiser reported on July 16. "We're not happy to hear the news of Michael Taylor getting the (job), not only because of his well-known GMO revolving door issues that don't please us at all, but also, we have some differences of opinion in terms of government and food inspection," Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch, a non-profit consumer organization, told NFM.
This and other recent events are likely to provide for some extremely interesting and lively discussion at this year’s NBJ Summit. Check the NBJ blog later this week for updates and highlights from this year’s sold-out event, which starts today and runs through Friday, July 24, at the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point, California.