The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor held one of its quarterly Corridor Conversations. On the program was newly-appointed director of the FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine, Bernadette Dunham, DVM, PhD, and Dan McChesney, PhD, director of the FDA’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance.
Dunham talked about some of the upcoming initiatives of the FDA and CVM. She said the FDA has budgeted $141 million for food safety, and $9.5m of that is for animal drugs and feed programs. There is a new guidance for industry on genetically-engineered (GE) animals. Dunham noted the potential areas for GE animals include biopharm, research, xenotransplantation, disease resistance and animal-derived food products.
Dunham also talked about antimicrobial resistance. “We need to educate, communicate and mitigate problems,” she said. “Members of the House and Senate on the Hill often find it easy to pass legislation. They want to do what is right, but they don’t always know the layers or the science behind some of these issues.” She stressed that we need better communication to our representatives as well as the public on issues of antimicrobial use.
Food and feed safety is also a concern, and McChesney said there will be an increased budget and emphasis in this area, including legislation to address current gaps in enforcement authorities. Recent Salmonella and melamine issues in pet and human food products underscore the importance of better oversight. “No one should ever have to second-guess buying food off of a shelf and feeding their family,” said Dunham.