U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned today, effective next month.
According to The Washington Post, the move was unexpected. Gottlieb was reportedly well-liked in the government, but told officials he wanted to spend more time with his family. Gottlieb worked as an advisor to President Trump’s transition team in 2016 and was appointed to the FDA post following the election. Gottlieb previously worked for the FDA as an advisor to the commissioner from 2002 to 2003 and as director of medical policy development from 2005 to 2007. In 2007 he became a partner at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates where worked until 2017.
As head of the FDA, Gottlieb embraced the debate over labelling for dairy and dairy alternative products. In September, Gottlieb spoke out about the issue, stating that the FDA “has concerns that the labeling of some plant-based products may lead consumers to believe that those products have the same key nutritional attributes as dairy products, even though these products can vary widely in their nutritional content.” That month the administration also opened up a public comment period, which ended earlier this year.
In his resignation letter, Gottlieb listed several accomplishments he was proud of, including the administration’s policies to combat the rise of vaping among teenagers. In the food and beverage space, he cited the FDA’s work to improve food safety and its ability to track foodborne illness outbreaks.