About FDA

The History of FDA's Fight for Consumer Protection and Public Health

The Food and Drug Administration is the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U. S. federal government. Since 1848 the federal government has used chemical analysis to monitor the safety of agricultural products -- a responsibility inherited by the Department of Agriculture in 1862 and by later by the FDA. 

Although it was not known by its present name until 1930, FDA’s modern regulatory functions began with the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, a law a quarter-century in the making that prohibited interstate commerce in adulterated and misbranded food and drugs--had been the driving force behind this law and headed its enforcement in the early years, providing basic elements of protection that consumers had never known before that time. 

Since then, the FDA has changed along with social, economic, political and legal changes in the United States. Examining the history of these changes illuminates the evolving role that FDA has played in promoting public health and offers lessons to consider as we evaluate current regulatory challenges. 


 

In these pages, you will find a wealth of resources and information that document FDA's rich history, including:

Historical images


Visual Images

Social media


Social Media

Virtual exhibits


Virtual exhibits

Institutional History


Institutional History

Product Regulation


Product Regulation

Primary Sources


Primary Sources

Oral Histories


Oral Histories

Research Tools


Research Tools

Teaching Aids


Teaching Aids

 

Page Last Updated: 05/30/2018
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