30 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 665 (1975)
America's First Food and Drug Laws

handle is hein.journals/foodlj30 and id is 693 raw text is: America's First
Food and Drug Laws
Mr. Janssen Is the Food and Drug Administration Historian. The
Article First Appeared in the June 1975 Issue of the FDA Consumer.
W HEN WE CELEBRATE the 200th anniversary of Indepen-
dence Day, on July 4, 1976, we will be thinking of the past,
the present, and the future. We will have a unique opportunity to
make an assessment of our accomplishments and institutions, viewed
in a perspective of two centuries of tremendous change. This is already
beginning to take place across the country, as bicentennial commis-
sions and committees delve into local history, refurbish historic sites,
prepare exhibits, and plan commemorative programs.
Taking a close look at the past, a new experience, for many
Americans, can have salutary effects. Every generation needs to learn
anew how it got to where it is, and where it seems to be going.
When FDA Consumer was first published (as FDA Papers), each
issue had in its masthead a small picture of Dr. Harvey W. Wiley,
the crusading chemist and physician who led the fight for the first
Federal Food and Drug Act, passed in 1906. But long before Wiley's
day there were local food and drug laws, dating from colonial times.
Today, hardly anyone knows' these laws existed, much less what
they contained, or why. Yet, they were the forerunners of our present
statutes, and dealt with some familiar problems.
In colonial days, and long afterward, consumers, to a large ex-
tent, were their own food and drug inspectors. They sniffed meat
and fish to make sure it was fresh, and scrutinized flour and fruit for
signs of worms. Practically all food was sold in bulk, there being
few packaged, processed, or manufactured products 'on the market.
Commercially prepared bread was a notable exception.'Although much


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