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U.S. Food and Drug Administration

FDA History

 photo of members of the Divison of Chemistry, circa 1899

Harvey Washington Wiley, head of the Division of Chemistry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, predecessor of the FDA, is pictured here around 1899 with his technical staff behind him. Dr. Wiley's formal attire perhaps suggested his activity that day to stump for the latest in a long line of comprehensive federal food and drug bills.

man in laboratory

A chemist is shown using column chromatographic apparatus in the mid-1950s to separate constituents in a coal tar color analysis.

History of the FDA
A brief history of FDA from its origins to the present.
Milestones in FDA History
Food and drug law milestones from 1820 to the present.
The Long Struggle for the 1906 Law
Story of the passage of the Food and Drugs Act of 1906.
Activists in the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act Legislative Campaign
An evolving document listing 1906 activists and their successor organizations
A Brief History of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
Description of the evolution of the drug regulatory function at FDA from 1902 to the present, including an Index and a Timeline.
Regulating Biological Medicines
A commemoration of the Biologics Control Act and the history of how vaccines, blood, and other biological products were regulated.
Story of the Laws Behind the Labels
Describes the change from a food and drug law that was primarily a criminal statute to a law that is now dominantly preventive through informative regulations and premarket controls.
The Rise and Fall of Federal Food Standards in the United States: The Case of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (slideshow)
Scrutiny of the ingredients in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich illustrates the importance of food standards to insure value to consumers.
"How to Become a United States Food and Drug Inspector"
Originally appeared in The Civil Service Magazine in 1914.
"Making History"
Columns written for Update, a publication of the Food and Drug Law Institute.