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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

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This Week In FDA History - Nov. 9, 1959

Photo with caption
  Signs posted during the 1959 cranberry crisis indicating these berries had been tested and cleared for consumption. The cranberry contamination was first reported in the Pacific Northwest, but soon after, cranberries grown in other states were implicated as well.
November 9, 1959:
Cranberry Crisis — Three weeks before Thanksgiving, the FDA announces that chemists had discovered aminotriazole, a recognized carcinogen, in that year's cranberry crop. Cranberries cleared for sale during the crisis were the only FDA product ever to boast correctly of being tested and cleared "by FDA."

FDA in 2006

The FDA monitors the food supply for pesticides and chemical contaminants through sampling in the field and through a periodic investigation called the Total Diet Study. For this analysis of the American diet, sometimes called the market basket study, samples are collected of a list of foods selected to represent a typical diet, and then foods are prepared as they are in the home. After preparation, the sample is analyzed
for contaminants and nutrients. Since it was begun in 1961 to monitor radioactive contamination, the Total Diet Study has expanded to include analysis of pesticide residues, industrial chemicals, and nutrients. Because foods are prepared table-ready as they would be eaten in the home, the study allows the agency to make realistic estimates of the actual levels in U.S. diets of the nutrients and contaminants being studied.