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Eye on FDA
8 May 2007, 11:08 am
Filed under: FDA, food politics, Regulation

My searches have led me to a fascinating website, Eye on FDA, which has the following to say about the creation of the new Food Safety Czar position:

In the wake of criticism about food safety, the FDA announced yesterday the formation of a new food safety czar. Once again, whether by choice or not, the FDA is handling a crisis not be proactive communications, but by reactive efforts that only make the agency appear without a vision at the same time the agency is trying to enunciate a vision. On the heels of his statement that the system is not broken, an announcement is made to fix it by Dr. von Eschenbach.Perhaps this was a long standing plan of the commissioner’s – to address food safety, but how would we know?

The absence of a stated vision means that there is no vision at all, because vision must be communicated if it is to be effective. This is something I learned at Zingerman’s, and it is important not only because it produces employee buy-in but also because it protects an organization from apathy and mission creep. If the vision is a secret, there is no way to tell whether the organization is closer or farther away from meeting it, and, more importantly, no reason to strive for better results.Moreover, I suspect that the FDA is unable to draft a vision which satisfies its real core constituency (i.e., industrial food producers) and its ostensible core constituence (i.e., the food-buying public).

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