Dr Swift was most recently the Associate Director for Research and Strategy at the FDA’s Office of Dietary Supplement Programs where she managed the office’s research portfolio and was responsible for aligning its science, research, compliance, enforcement and policy initiatives. She also co-chaired the Steering Team for the Botanical Safety Consortium.
When asked specifically about her decision to join NPA, Dr Swift told NutraIngredients-USA: “When I attended conferences as a representative of FDA, I appreciated the way NPA’s board and committee members seem to have a sense of urgency around compliance in the interest of protecting consumers and the industry’s future. I was also drawn to NPA’s dedication to its membership. The organization works nonstop to ensure its members’ issues are heard and addressed, where other organizations are more likely to simply ask questions or stand on the sidelines.”
CBD & CODEX
In her new role, Dr Swift will be responsible for the development and implementation of the association’s current educational, regulatory and compliance programs and efforts, such as SSCI, the NPA Natural Standard and others. Her work will also include a focus on assisting members with claim reviews and substantiation, as well as NDI notification policy.
“We are very excited that Dr Swift is a part of NPA as we enter this important phase of industry regulation and expansion, especially as it relates to new and promising products like CBD,” said Dr Daniel Fabricant, NPA’s president and CEO.
“Dr Swift is an exceptional example of NPA’s leadership and focus on effectively engaging in legislative and regulatory environments to support the industry and ensure the best, safest and most innovative natural products are accessible to people in America and around the world. No other organization in the space has this depth and breadth of understanding of how the modern-day FDA functions.”
Regarding the SSCI, Dr Fabricant told us: that significant progress has been made with the SSCI with the completion of a benchmarking document that “will effectively serve as a Rosetta stone for all certifications and it allows for any certifications to have translational value to the consumer no matter who is doing the auditing.
“That means we can now engage all certification bodies, in a relatively short time frame, to have their standards benchmarked and have uniform audits performed by those benchmarked certifications. This was the big goal all along,” he said.
The hiring comes as the industry association expands its international presence as a Codex Alimentarius NGO observer and continues to weigh in on a host of public policy priorities including CBD regulation, New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) enforcement, permitting health savings account holders to use tax-deferred funds for supplement purchases, and the future of Natural Product regulation. The association’s responsibilities during upcoming Codex Alimentarius meetings will be shared by Drs Fabricant and Swift, plus members of NPA’s Board of Directors.
In mid-2019, the Natural Products Association filed for bankruptcy, and at that time Dr Fabricant said that the organization would continue to serve its membership through the process. When asked by NutraIngredients-USA about this process, Mark LeDoux, Chairman of NPA's Board of Directors, responded: “While we cannot comment on pending litigation, this [the hiring of Dr Swift] shows that NPA is as strong as ever.”
Dr Swift earned her PhD in nutrition and M.S. in physiology at Texas A&M University. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in a neuroendocrinology laboratory where she directed a Defense Medical Research and Development Program-funded grant exploring a novel method of inducing traumatic brain injury and its effect on stress response.
Prior to joining FDA, Dr Swift was a research biochemist in the Department of Defense at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, where she collaborated with fellow investigators to create a novel model of polytrauma and explored the efficacy of vitamin E isomers as radiation countermeasures.
Dr Swift’s departure from the FDA is the second senior level loss at the ODSP in recent months. In November, Robert Durkin, then-Deputy Director of the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP), left the Agency to join Arnall Golden Gregory LLP (AGG).