Monday, September 26, 2005

FDA chief Lester Crawford resigns suddenly

FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford resigned Friday. According to the Associated Press (AP):

Crawford's surprise resignation, submitted Friday and effective immediately, gave no specific reason for his departure. "It is time at the age of 67, to step aside," he wrote in his resignation letter.

Crawford's tenure was marked by increasing criticism of the agency by those who contended it had become more interested in politics than in its mission to protect consumers.....

Crawford's time at the agency included more than a year as acting commissioner during a lengthy confirmation process. He won the Senate's backing in July only after telling senators the agency would make a final decision on legalizing Plan B for over-the-counter sales by Sept. 1.

Then in August word came of another delay, prompting intense criticism from proponents of Plan B and leading to the resignation of the FDA's top woman's health official.

Only days before his resignation, speaking at the Consumer Federation of America's annual food policy conference in Washington, Crawford gave little hint of an impending departure. A veterinarian by training, Crawford led USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service in the early 1990s. The newsletter I edited then, the Community Nutrition Institute's Nutrition Week, frequently criticized FSIS' food safety regulatory decisions during Crawford's tenure there.

No comments: