Since the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, federal regulation of food, tobacco, medical products and veterinary products has evolved significantly in accordance with changes in law, science, and the marketplace.
While the FDA was initially only authorized to regulate food and drugs (including those for veterinary use), in 1938 the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act added cosmetics, medical devices and color additives to the agency's portfolio.
In 1972, the regulation of biological products was transferred to the FDA from the National Institutes of Health, just a year after the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research was established.
And most recently in 2009 the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act authorized the FDA to regulate tobacco products.
The histories of product regulation offered in this section provide greater insight into the detailed evolution of the regulatory authorities given to the FDA by Congress.