Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response for the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), has submitted his resignation effective Feb. 24, 2023.
The resignation of Yiannas comes in the wake of the fumbled FDA response to the 2022 infant formula supply and food safety crisis, which revealed flaws in the agency’s response protocols. FDA officials did not learn of the ongoing food safety issues at Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Mich., facility until just before the recall was issued, and a whistleblower report on those safety concerns also did not reach officials for months after it was mailed to the FDA’s top officials.
The subsequent recall of the contaminated product and shutdown of production at Sturgis had a crippling effect on the infant formula supply in the U.S.
During his FDA tenure, Yiannas helped advance the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), even through the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the table. Yiannas also stressed the use of modern tools and strategies, and creating more collaboration and communication between the agency, industry and consumers.
Yiannas joined FDA in 2018 after leading Walmart’s food safety program for more than a decade, with the goal of modernizing the agency response and regulatory oversight capabilities.