- The food legacy of the Obama administration greatly lies in safety, according to Joseph Levitt, partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP. Levitt and Ricardo Carvajal, director, Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C., both spoke of the administration's impending legacy at the close of a Grocery Manufacturers Association event Wednesday. Carvajal also said nutrition fact labeling and added sugars could be part of Obama's legacy.
- Levitt addressed the persistent elephant in the room that Pamela Bailey, president of the Grocery Manufacturers association touched on in her opening remarks — GMO labeling.
- "I think notably absent from the legacy list is food biotechnology," Levitt said. "The strongest statement we saw [Tuesday] was that FDA would educate the public about the safety of food biotechnology. But that's pretty soft," he added.
Levitt was the director of FDA's CFSAN the last three years of the Clinton administration, and warned of what to expect as this current election cycle progresses — a lull from the conventions in July to the election in November, a rush following the election, followed yet again by another lull.
"In my time as CFSAN director, we cleared more final regulations the third week in January than the entire three years before," he said. "There was a regs rush like you wouldn’t believe."
As for regulation to come?
"If you dive into the platforms that have been articulated by the leading candidates, it's not clear where they would stand on a lot of theses issues that we've been talking about that are critical for the food industry," Carvajal said after the presentation.
"The one thing we could see agreement on is to the extent that there needs to be an active program to ensure food safety," he added.