March 14th, 2009
01:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama nominates Food and Drug chief

President Obama announced Saturday his pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration.
President Obama announced Saturday his pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

(CNN) – In his weekly address to the nation Saturday, President Obama announced his choice of Dr. Margaret Hamburg to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

Watch: Obama's weekly address

"From her research on infectious disease at the National Institutes of Health to her work on public health at the Department of Health and Human Services to her leadership on biodefense at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Dr. Hamburg brings to this vital position not only a reputation of integrity but a record of achievement in making Americans safer and more secure," Obama said.

According to the White House, Hamburg was one of the youngest people ever elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.

Hamburg's nomination now goes to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.

Full Transcript of address

Obama also made three other key announcements:

–Baltimore Commissioner of Health, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, has been selected to serve as the FDA's principal deputy commissioner.

– A new Food Safety Working Group will coordinate with other agencies and advise the president on improving coordination throughout the government, as well as examining and upgrading food safety laws.

– The Agriculture Department is set to close a loophole to prevent diseased cows from entering the food supply - along with implementing new measures to increase the number of food inspectors and modernize food safety labs.

"In the end, food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your President, but as a parent," Obama said. "When I heard peanut products were being contaminated earlier this year, I immediately thought of my 7-year old daughter, Sasha, who has peanut butter sandwiches for lunch probably three times a week. No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch."


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Only 3 months in office

    I do believe that Barack Obama's first term administration start up is far more competent than what we witnessed by the former president Bush. I am confident that he's going to fix the damage that Bush made.

    March 14, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Don

    For 8 long years the Republicans saw their own organization (the government) as the enemy and unrelentently dismantled and crippled those agencies that had been put in place to protect us. Putting it back together again will not be easy nor cheap. Thank goodness we have a President with the intellect and courage to take on this task.

    March 14, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Rob

    Does this mean we are going back to having food & drug safety again, what will the pharmaceutical companies do now, how will China import their contaminated food products to us if the FDA is going to do it's job from now on, how dare Obama appoint some one like this, I' m outraged, so is China and the pharmaceutical companies.

    March 14, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. VERY PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN

    I do believe that President Obama's first term administration start up is far more competent than what we witnessed by the president W. In three months, he has done so much and I am confident he will fix the damage made by Bush.

    It took us 8 years to get into this mess, but President Obama is working hard to get us out quickly. Very Proud of our President.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

    March 14, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Dawn

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! maybe our children won't eat something that will make them sick or die. The Bush Administration sent into these places an independent group and falsify records and giving a good grade. That is what caused the salmonella in our produce, and in the peanut butter.

    If they (FDA) can't protect our people well who can!

    March 14, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Dennis

    Hope she's paid her taxes.

    March 14, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. BC in NC

    Good choice.

    March 14, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Eric

    Is she a tax cheat, drug addict, Anti-American or all three?

    March 14, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. katiec

    Looks like President has picked a qualified position. This department has been underfunded, inadequate performing and no substantial support for quite some time.
    They were given no priority or attention, ignored by the previous administration as were many others.

    March 14, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. JonDie

    The FDA is controlled by industry and will always put profit above safety.

    March 14, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Claudette Siar

    Thank you Mr. President! I knew you would get to the FDA as soon as you could put out some of the other fires left for you my the bush Administration. I just want to know, that with my own due diligence, the food I feed my family is safe. I want the FDA to mean something again. I wake every day happy that your are our president...

    Now could you speed up getting America of out of the two wars? Just asking...

    Great job President Obama, in all that you have done in your first few days. I support your budget and the reality you brought to the budget numbers.

    March 14, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Pro-Obama Veteran

    America, where have you gone? It is so unfortunate that this is what we have become. President Obama simply announced his pick to head the FDA. What is wrong with that? Who among would argue that in recent years the FDA has lived up to its charter? What is the point in criticizing him for trying to provide for greater safety in the foods and drugs we consume? I think it is a good thing that he is addressing the issue and ask how many more people need to fall ill due to poor oversight and inadequate inspections? Please, I implore you, put aside your hatred, dislike, and distain or whatever else it is that you feel towards him personally, and work to make the country a little better for the next generation.

    March 14, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Eric

    Yep – nice job Mr. President. I believe your heart and will are the keys to making this nation better.

    March 14, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Steve, PA

    It's funny how this country thinks. Or at least how Democrats think anyway. If Obama screws up, he's just human, live and learn. But when Bush screwed up, it's throw him in Jail, try him for war crimes, etc. Hate to break it to you, but Bush was Human too, and he led every single day since 9/11 to Protect this Country 1st and foremost.

    He, along with the Republican's warned about Fannie and Freddie 2 years ago and what did the Democrats do... NOTHING because they held the power and wanted Bush to Fail. How is this any different then Rush saying he wants Obama's plans to turn this country into a Socialist Country to fail? I too want Obama's plans to fail if he wants to take everything that makes this country great and flush it down the toilet

    I'm just waiting for news to come back that the newly appointed people also have TAX problems.

    March 14, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. C W

    To Scott in Tucson: To complain that Obama has done nothing or is slow at appointing people is dumb. The people he announced today sound qualified, with experience with what they'll be in charge of.

    As opposed to "Heckuva Job, Brownie" who was selected to head FEMA, bringing to the position his experience as ... a horse show judge.

    March 14, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. jim Scheinle, Santa Fe, NM

    Another political correct appointment of a half-qualified woman

    March 14, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Fearful - I suppose food stamp fraud would be better than having incompetent idiots poisoning and killing people with salmonella, e coli and lead, like your precious Bush did with his nominations.

    March 14, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Bill-Tampa

    Scott from Tuscon. Bush may have put a cabinet in place quicker, but competent they were not. If they were, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today..a runaway economy, wars on two fronts, and the rest of the world hating us under George W's reign of terror. Like the PM of Poland said, the rest of the world is glad Obama is the new leader to represent freedom across the world.

    March 14, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Fed Up w/Gov't

    Vetting process for Team Obama.
    Pick a person who:
    1. has more executive leadership experience than your boss
    2. "forgets" to pay taxes
    3. can speak without a teleprompter
    4. will almost certainly withdraw their name from consideration
    5. go back to step 1

    March 14, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. dave b

    Great .......another obamunist . Wonder what crimes this one has done.

    March 14, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Rita

    Did they check her tax history BEFORE anouncing the appointment this time, or will they get burnt again?

    March 14, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. eva

    thank you, mister president!

    March 14, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. ANGIE IN PA

    Now this is Great Change under the Bush Presidency so MANY Samonellia Outbreaks and other Dangerous things

    PET FOOD
    TOOTHPASTE
    CHILDRENS TOYS
    TOMATOES
    PEPPERS
    PEANUTS
    ETC
    Why Because of NO REGULATION Bush did not Care Finally we have a President that cares What the American People are ending up with wheather it be Food toys Etc THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA!

    March 14, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Princewill Opubo.

    God bless you, Mr. President.

    March 14, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. CC

    Question number one:
    Have you paid your taxes?

    March 14, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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