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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

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This Week In FDA History - Dec. 13, 1969

Photo of Commissioner Edwards
December 13, 1969:
Charles Edwards, M.D., becomes FDA commissioner. During his tenure, the FDA oversaw a massive investigation and recall of botulism-
contaminated vichyssoise soup and responded to reports of dangerous levels of mercury in swordfish and tuna.

FDA in 2006

Rapid response to a public health crisis remains a vital aspect of the FDA's responsibilities. In August and September 2006, the agency investigated an outbreak of foodborne illness caused by a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria. The outbreak, which was associated with three deaths and sickened over 200 people in 26 states, was traced to contamination of fresh bagged spinach. The investigation and recall
involved FDA headquarters and field staff, who worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health officials to identify and trace the source of the illnesses. In the aftermath of this outbreak, the agency is giving guidance to fresh produce growers and processors on their food safety and sanitation practices to help prevent future outbreaks.