Pure Food and Drug Act
Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the first of a series of
significant consumer protection laws enacted by Congress in the 20th
century and led to the creation of the
Food and Drug Administration .
Its main purpose was to ban foreign and interstate traffic in
adulterated or mislabeled food and drug products, and it directed the
Bureau of Chemistry to inspect products and refer offenders to
prosecutors. It required that active ingredients be placed on the
label of a drug’s packaging and that drugs could not fall below
purity levels established by the United States Pharmacopeia or the
The Jungle by
Upton Sinclair was an inspirational
piece that kept the public's attention on the important issue of
unsanitary meat processing plants that later led to food inspection
* 1 Historical significance
* 2 Particular drugs deemed dangerous
* 3 History of passage
* 4 Beginnings of the
Food and Drug Administration
* 5 Enforcement of labeling and future ramifications
* 6 References
* 6.1 Sources
* 7 External links
The PURE FOOD AND DRUG ACT of 1906 was a key piece of Progressive Era
legislation, signed by President
Theodore Roosevelt on the same day as
Federal Meat Inspection Act . Enforcement of the Pure Food and
Drug Act was assigned to the
Bureau of Chemistry in the U.S.
Department of Agriculture which was renamed the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) in 1930. The
Meat Inspection Act
Meat Inspection Act was assigned to
what is now known as the
Food Safety and Inspection Service that
remains in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first federal law
regulating foods and drugs, the 1906 Act's reach was limited to foods
and drugs moving in interstate commerce . Although the law drew upon
many precedents, provisions, and legal experiments pioneered in
individual states, the federal law defined "misbranding" and
"adulteration" for the first time and prescribed penalties for each.
The law recognized the U.S. Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary as
standards authorities for drugs, but made no similar provision for
federal food standards. The law was principally a "truth in labeling"
law designed to raise standards in the food and drug industries and
protect the reputations and pocketbooks of honest businessmen.
PARTICULAR DRUGS DEEMED DANGEROUS
Under the law, drug labels, for example, had to list any of 10
ingredients that were deemed "addictive" and/or "dangerous" on the
product label if they were present, and could not list them if they
were not present.
Alcohol , morphine , opium , and cannabis were all
included on the list of these "addictive" and/or "dangerous" drugs.
The law also established a federal cadre of food and drug inspectors
that one Southern opponent of the legislation criticized as "a Trojan
horse with a bellyful of inspectors and other employees." Penalties
under the law were modest, but an under-appreciated provision of the
Act proved more powerful than monetary penalties. Goods found in
violation of the law were subject to seizure and destruction at the
expense of the manufacturer. That, combined with a legal requirement
that all convictions be published as Notices of Judgment, proved to be
important tools in the enforcement of the statute and had a deterrent
effect upon would-be violators. Deficiencies in this original
statute, which had become noticeable by the 1920s, led to the
replacement of the 1906 statute with the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act which was enacted in 1938 and signed by President
Franklin Roosevelt. The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, along with
its numerous amendments, remains the statutory basis for federal
regulation of all foods, drugs, biological products, cosmetics,
medical devices, tobacco, and radiation-emitting devices by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration .
HISTORY OF PASSAGE
It took 27 years to the 1906 statute, during which time the public
was made aware of many problems with foods and drugs in the U.S.
Muckraking journalists, such as
Samuel Hopkins Adams , targeted the
patent medicine industry with its high-alcoholic content patent
medicines, soothing syrups for infants with opium derivatives, and
"red clauses" in newspaper contracts providing that patent medicine
ads (upon which most newspapers of the time were dependent) would be
withdrawn if the paper expressed support for food and drug regulatory
legislation. The Chief Chemist of the Bureau of Chemistry, Dr. Harvey
Washington Wiley , captured the country's attention with his hygienic
table studies, which began with a modest Congressional appropriation
in 1902. The goal of the table trial was to study the human effects of
common preservatives used in foods during a period of rapid changes in
the food supply brought about by the need to feed cities and support
an industrializing nation increasingly dependent on immigrant labor.
Wiley recruited young men to eat all their meals at a common table as
he added increased "doses" of preservatives including borax, benzoate,
formaldehyde, sulfites, and salicylates. The table trials captured the
nation's fancy and were soon dubbed "The
Poison Squad" by newspapers
covering the story. The men soon adopted the motto "Only the Brave
dare eat the fare" and at times the publicity given to the trials
became a burden. Though many results of the trial came to be in
dispute, there was no doubt that formaldehyde was dangerous and it
disappeared quickly as a preservative. Wiley himself felt that he had
found adverse effects from large doses of each of the preservatives
and the public seemed to agree with Wiley. In many cases, most
particularly with ketchup and other condiments, the use of
preservatives was often used to disguise insanitary production
practices. Although the law itself did not proscribe the use of some
of these preservatives, consumers increasingly turned away from many
products with known preservatives.
The 1906 statute regulated food and drugs moving in interstate
commerce and forbade the manufacture, sale, or transportation of
poisonous patent medicines. The Act arose due to public education and
exposés from public interest guardians such as
Upton Sinclair and
Samuel Hopkins Adams, social activist
Florence Kelley , researcher
Harvey W. Wiley
Harvey W. Wiley , and President Theodore Roosevelt.
BEGINNINGS OF THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
The 1906 Act paved the way for the eventual creation of the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) and is generally considered to be that
agency's founding date, though the agency existed before the law was
passed and was not named FDA until later. "While the Food and Drug act
remains a foundational law of the FDA mission, it's not the law that
created the FDA. the
Bureau of Chemistry (the precursor to the FDA)
regulated food safety. In 1927, the Bureau was reorganized into the
Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration and the Bureau of Chemistry
and Soils. The FDIA was renamed the FDA in 1930."
The law itself was largely replaced by the much more comprehensive
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938.
ENFORCEMENT OF LABELING AND FUTURE RAMIFICATIONS
Pure Food and Drug Act
Pure Food and Drug Act was initially concerned with ensuring
products were labeled correctly. Later efforts were made to outlaw
certain products that were not safe, followed by efforts to outlaw
products which were safe but not effective. For example, there was an
attempt to outlaw
Coca-Cola in 1909 because of its excessive caffeine
content; caffeine had replaced cocaine as the active ingredient in
Coca-Cola in 1903. In the case United States v. Forty Barrels and
Twenty Kegs of
Coca-Cola , the judge found that
Coca-Cola had a right
to use caffeine as it saw fit, although
Coca-Cola eventually lost when
the government appealed to the Supreme Court. It reached a settlement
United States government
United States government to reduce the caffeine amount.
In addition to caffeine, the
Pure Food and Drug Act
Pure Food and Drug Act required that
drugs such as alcohol , cocaine , heroin , morphine , and cannabis ,
be accurately labeled with contents and dosage. Previously many drugs
had been sold as patent medicines with secret ingredients or
misleading labels. Cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and other such drugs
continued to be legally available without prescription as long as they
were labeled. It is estimated that sale of patent medicines containing
opiates decreased by 33% after labeling was mandated. The Pure Food
and Drug Act of 1906 is cited by drug policy reform advocates such as
James P. Gray as a successful model for re-legalization of currently
prohibited drugs by requiring accurate labels, monitoring of purity
and dose, and consumer education.
* ^ Swann, Ph.D., John P. "The 1906
Food and Drugs Act and Its
Enforcement". FDA History - Part I. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Retrieved 10 April 2013. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link
* ^ Young, James H. Pure Food: Securing the Federal Food and Drugs
Act of 1906. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 98.
* ^ FDA Notices of Judgment Collection, 1908-1966
* ^ Ayers, Edward A. (August 1907). "What The Food Law Saves Us
From: Adulterations, Substitutions, Chemical Dyes, and Other Evils".
The World\'s Work: A History of Our Time . XIV: 9316–9322. Retrieved
* ^ Sharrock, Justine (2011-01-11) Explained: Jared Loughner\'s
Grammar Obsession, Mother Jones
* ^ Hamblin M.D., James (January 31, 2013). "Why We Took Cocaine
Out of Soda". The Atlantic's Health Editorial. The Atlantic Monthly.
Retrieved April 10, 2013.
* ^ "Pop psychology: The man who saved Coca-Cola", by Ludy T.
Benjamin, Monitor on Psychology, February 2009, Vol 40, No. 2, p. 18
* ^ Musto, David F. (1999). The American Disease: Origins of