An interview with David W.K. Acheson, M.D.
in Food Protection
David W.K. Acheson, M.D., appointed in
2007 to the newly established position
of Assistant FDA Commissioner for Food
Protection by Commissioner of the Food
and Drug Administration Andrew C. von
Eschenbach, M.D., has had a busy
year. In addition to his 30,000-ft. over-
sight duties related to the release of the
of Physicians (London) and the
Infectious Disease Society of America.
He was a member of the National
Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods from 1998 to
2007 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, MA, where he
researched basic molecular pathogenesis
of foodborne pathogens.
Acheson spent some time recently
with Food Safety Magazine to share his
thoughts on the recently unveiled Food
Protection Plan, Import Safety Plan and
other upcoming agency initiatives in
progress to further increase the safety of
the U.S. food supply.
national Food Protection and Import Safety plans, Acheson also served
for a month-and-a-half as Acting Director of FDA’s Center for Food
Food Safety Magazine: As Assistant
FDA Commissioner for Food Protection,
and recently, as the appointed Acting
Director of CFSAN, your oversight responsibilities have been quite extended, Dr.
Acheson. What are your professional objectives and goals for CFSAN in 2008?
Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) during the search to replace pre-
vious CFSAN Director Robert Brackett, Ph.D. In January, Director of
FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M.,
Ph.D., was named the new CFSAN Director. In January, von
Eschenbach expanded Dr. Acheson's role by naming him Associate
Commissioner of Foods, giving him an agency-wide leadership role for
all food and feed issues, including health promotion and nutrition.
Dr. David Acheson: In the position of
Assistant FDA Commissioner for
Foods, my role is to coordinate food
and feed issues across the agency. One
of my main responsibilities is to oversee
the implementation of the Food
Protection Plan, which includes a variety of areas broader than those that fall
under CFSAN’s oversight. So my goals
involving this high level coordination
and leadership in the agency on food
and feed haven’t changed.
Acheson has also served as CFSAN’s 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. He 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. Acheson is a fellow of both the Royal College
Food Safety Magazine: With the release of
FDA’s Food Protection Plan in November
2007, the U.S. now has a comprehensive
blueprint to address both unintentional and
deliberate contamination of the nation’s food
supply. Would you give us a brief overview of
the plan and describe its key elements?