FDA Organizational Histories
Commissioner of Agriculture Isaac Newton, head of the new Department of Agriculture, appointed Charles M. Wetherill to the position of Chemist of the Department in 1862, a function that the Patent Office had transferred to Agriculture. That position early on focused on means to improve the wine industry, fertilizers, and other endeavors, but soon the chemist began investigating the adulteration of agricultural commodities. The position eventually grew into a Division and, by the turn of the 20th century, into the Bureau of Chemistry. It was the Bureau that Congress charged to carry out the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, the milestone that marks the beginning of the modern Food and Drug Administration.
The thrust of this section concerns the evolution and interrelationship of the structure and general functions of the FDA, the identity of the agency and the entities that comprise Food and Drug. The history of FDA is very much a story of organization following function as its many responsibilities expanded over the years, which the following articles discuss.