Commissioner of Food and Drugs Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., yesterday appointed David A. Acheson, M.D., Acting Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Acheson currently is Assistant FDA Commissioner for Food Protection, a post he will retain when he assumes his leadership role at CFSAN.
In announcing the interim appointment to FDA employees November 19, Commissioner von Eschenbach said, "With the release of the Food Protection and Import Safety plans, now more than ever we must continue the strong leadership at CFSAN. That's why I have asked Dr. David Acheson to serve as Acting Director until a permanent replacement is recruited. In addition, David will continue in his permanent role as Assistant Commissioner for Food Protection."
The Food Protection Plan and Import Safety Plan were announced November 6. They include several substantive administrative measures and legislative proposals to further increase the safety of the U.S. food supply.
Acheson will replace current CFSAN Director Robert Brackett, Ph.D., who will leave FDA at the end of the month for a position as Senior Vice President and Chief Science and Regulatory Affairs Officer with the Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association.
Acheson will serve as CFSAN Acting Director until a permanent Director is recruited. Commissioner von Eschenbach said he would initiate a nationwide search for a permanent CFSAN Director as soon as possible.
Acheson has also served as Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Office of Food Defense, Communication and Emergency Response at CFSAN, where he played key roles in managing significant food safety issues and emergencies.
Dr. Acheson is a graduate of the University of London Medical School, with training in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He has published extensively and is internationally recognized both for his public health expertise in food safety and his research in infectious diseases. He is a fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians (London) and the Infectious Disease Society of America. He is on the editorial board of Infection and Immunity and is currently the special editor on food safety for Clinical Infectious Diseases. He has been a member of the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods since 1998 and has served on World Health Organization working groups as well as National Institutes of Health advisory committees. He has also held academic posts at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore, Md., where he focused on research of foodborne pathogens, and at Tufts University in Boston, Mass., where he researched basic molecular pathogenesis of foodborne pathogens.