Obama names FDA chief, creates food safety panel

first_img Obama also announced the creation of a new Food Safety Working Group to advise him on ways to improve food safety laws and to promote cooperation among the multiple government agencies that oversee food safety. The group will be led by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA). In his weekly radio address Mar 14, the president said the nation is battling nearly 350 foodborne disease outbreaks a year, compared with 100 a year in the early 1990s. He blamed outdated laws, the diffusion of regulatory responsibilities across many government agencies, and underfunding that leaves the FDA unable to inspect more than 5% of food processing plants and warehouses each year. Weicker said Obama’s choice sends “a strong signal that the public’s health and safety will be the top priorities of the nation’s largest regulatory agency.” He called Hamburg “a proven manager, having turned around an ailing and under-resourced health department in New York City, where she restored both morale among workers and the agency’s credibility among its citizens.” “Her appointment signals a commitment to protecting consumer health, and we are confident that under her leadership there will be a concerted effort to support scientific independence and ensure that politics will not influence agency decisions,” he added. “That is a hazard to public health,” Obama said. “It is unacceptable. And it will change under the leadership of Margaret Hamburg, whom I am appointing today as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.” The president also noted the USDA’s implementation on Mar 14 of a complete ban on the use of disabled cattle for food. The new rule, which closes a loophole that allowed some downer cattle to be slaughtered for food, was proposed last August. In announcing the Food Safety Working Group, Obama gave few details. He said it would “bring together cabinet secretaries and senior officials to advise me on how we can upgrade our food safety laws for the 21st century; foster coordination throughout government; and ensure that we are not just designing laws that will keep the American people safe, but enforcing them. And I expect this group to report back to me as soon as possible.” Confirming reports that leaked out several days ago, Obama on Mar 14 announced the appointment of Hamburg, a biodefense expert and former New York City health commissioner, as FDA commissioner. The announcement has drawn praise from an array of consumer and public health advocacy groups. Mar 14 White House press release and transcript Hamburg’s appointment was also praised by Lowell Weicker Jr., former Connecticut senator and a board member at the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit, nonpartisan public health advocacy group. Hamburg also has served on the group’s board for the past 5-1/2 years. Mar 14 statement by Weicker of TFAHhttp://healthyamericans.org/newsroom/releases/?releaseid=162 The nutrition watchdog group Center for Science in the Public (CSPI) Interest praised both Hamburg and Sharfstein. “While most past commissioners have focused primarily on the drug side of FDA, Drs. Hamburg and Sharfstein are both well aware the FDA also regulates foods. They will have additional resources and, I hope, new statutory authorities to improve on,” CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson said in a statement. Mar 14 APHA statement “Dr. Hamburg is well-respected, smart, tough and effective and knows the full spectrum of issues related to public health,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, in a statement.center_img Obama also announced the appointment of Dr. Joshua Sharfstein as principal deputy commissioner at the FDA. “As Baltimore’s health commissioner, Dr. Sharfstein has been recognized as a national leader for his efforts to protect children from unsafe over-the-counter cough and cold medications,” Obama said. “And he’s designed an award-winning program to ensure that Americans with disabilities had access to prescription drugs.” During her service in New York, Hamburg sent health workers to tuberculosis patients’ homes to help manage their drug regimens, which reduced TB rates there by 45% from 1992 to 1997, according to a biography on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Web site. The approach became a model for health departments around the world. “We are also strengthening our food safety system and modernizing our labs with a billion dollar investment, a portion of which will go toward significantly increasing the number of food inspectors, helping ensure that the FDA has the staff and support they need to protect the food we eat,” Obama said. Mar 16, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – President Barack Obama has promised that his new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Margaret Hamburg, and a new cabinet-level panel will revitalize the federal government’s food safety efforts in the wake of a troubling string of foodborne disease outbreaks. See also: Several public health and consumer groups welcomed the choice of Hamburg to lead the FDA, whose reputation has been tarnished by the nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut products, among other recent problems. Hamburg and Sharfstein also were hailed by Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, and the Consumer Federation of America, an association of 300 consumer groups. “Their resumes are extremely impressive and both are familiar with the FDA’s failure to protect the public from foodborne illness,” the federation said. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the FDA Appropriations Subcommittee in the House, called Hamburg “the right choice at this critical time in food safety.” Hamburg also instituted needle-exchange programs to combat HIV infection and set up the nation’s first public-health bioterrorism defense program during her work in New York, according to the NIH. Hamburg comes to the FDA from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an institute focusing on defenses against nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, where she has been vice president of biological programs since 2001. She previously served as assistant secretary for policy and evaluation in President Bill Clinton’s HHS, which followed her stint as New York City health commissioner from 1991 to 1997. Mar 14 CSPI statementhttp://www.cspinet.org/new/200903141.html Mar 11 Consumer Union statementhttp://www.consumersunion.org/news/obama-picks-hamburg-sharfstein-for-fda/last_img read more

Ghana’s qualification caps Assifuah’s 20th birthday bash

first_imgOn the morning Ghana’s crucial Round of 16 clash against Portugal at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, striker, Ebenezer Assifuah had turned 20.After cutting the cake in a subdued party on Wednesday, high up on his list of wishes was his desire to see Ghana through.But the party really got started when Richmond Boakye-Yiadom scored from a free-kick with five minutes remaining to hand Ghana a 3-2 win and a place in the quarter-finals.This is the fifth time Ghana has reached the quarters in the competition and it capped Assifuah’s birthday bash back at the team’s hotel in Kayseri.“Yes, the party will go on. We are happy and full of enthusiasm. We are confident we can go even further,” said a smiling Joseph Attamah, a teammate of Assifuah.Ghana will now leave Kayseri and head for Istanbul, where they will play against Chile in the quarter-finals.last_img read more

Evans, Gasol help Grizzlies defeat Clippers

first_imgMemphis Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans (12) attempts a three point shot against Los Angeles Clippers guard Milos Teodosic (4) in the second half of an NBA basketball game. APMEMPHIS, Tennessee — The Memphis Grizzlies haven’t won many games lately, and those few victories have featured drama in the closing seconds.Tyreke Evans had 30 points and 11 assists, Marc Gasol had 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds and Memphis snapped a three-game losing streak with a 115-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday (Sunday Manila time).ADVERTISEMENT Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Memphis had its largest lead of the game with 5 minutes left, 109-93, before Austin Rivers and Williams began chipping into the advantage. Eventually, the guards helped craft a 19-6 run, pulling the Clippers within 115-112 with 1:00 left after a 3-pointer from Williams. After a couple missed attempts by Memphis, Doc Rivers called timeout with 21 seconds left. But Los Angeles never got off a shot in the ensuing possession.“I didn’t like the last play at all,” the Clippers coach said. “I thought we were looking for the 3, which we wanted, but we also could have gotten a quick 2. But we basically just dribbled the clock out.”Memphis has struggled in at least one quarter in games throughout the losing skid. This time, Memphis used a strong third quarter to stretch its 63-59 halftime lead to as many as 12. The 16-point advantage in the closing 5 minutes was enough of a cushion for Memphis.For the Clippers, playing the second night of a back-to-back after a win in Houston on Friday, there wasn’t quite enough energy to overcome the deficit.“Emotionally, on defense, we weren’t communicating,” Austin Rivers said. “We weren’t into it. They got too many buckets, and it cost us down the stretch.”ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ The Clippers had the ball with a chance to tie in the closing 21 seconds, but a tough Memphis defense forced a bad pass from Lou Williams, and Evans ran the ball down in the backcourt as the horn sounded. The victory was only the third for Memphis in the last 22 games. In each, the opponents failed to convert shots for a tie or victory on the final possession.“You take the win any way that you can,” Memphis interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We’ve got to be better in those moments, though.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkAustin Rivers had 38 points, his second straight game setting a career high, while Williams finished with 36. But no other Clippers player reached double figures. DeAndre Jordan, the league’s leading rebounder, had 18 boards.“It was a great comeback at the end when you’re down that many,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Pelicans pull away after halftime, top Heat Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson View commentslast_img read more