Frank Yiannis Appointed FDA Deputy Commissioner


Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb has announced the appointment of Frank Yiannis to a newly created position, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. He replaces Dr. Stephen Ostroff who will retire as FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine after a distinguished career at the FDA.

Yiannis who is currently Vice President of Food Safety at Walmart is a proponent of blockchain technology and is experienced in aspects of food safety and proactive measures to prevent foodborne disease. Yiannis has been a strong proponent of food safety both at Walmart where he completed a 10-year tenure and previously as Director of Safety and Health at Walt Disney World Company for 20 years.

Yiannis was recruited by Dr. Ostroff based on knowledge and experience which is critical after the challenges facing the FDA in protecting the food supply. In a statement accompanying the announcement, Dr. Gottlieb noted “We are delighted to be welcoming Frank to FDA and believe his extensive expertise in supply chain security can help inform our work across our different product areas including food, but also when it comes to the safety and security of medical products.”

The appointment has been welcomed by public health experts including Dr. Michael Taylor who served as the first Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine who stated “Frank is passionately committed to public health and the wellbeing of consumers.” The appointment was also endorsed by attorney Bill Marler, who referred to the action taken by Yiannis in response to the extensive STEC infection associated with lettuce grown in the Yuma Valley in 2017.

The appointment of Yiannis coincides with reorganization of responsibilities at FDA. The Heads of Centers including the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition will report directly to the Commissioner, bypassing Deputy Commissioners. The new office headed by Yiannis will be separate from the current office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine previously led by Dr. Ostroff.