37 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 5 (1982)
Introduction - The History of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act and the Meat Inspection Act

handle is hein.journals/foodlj37 and id is 7 raw text is: FOOD DRUG COSMETIC LAW JOURNAL 37, 5-9 (1982)

The History of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act and the Meat
Inspection Act
National Lawi Center, George Washington University
On June 30, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed two landmark acts-
The Pure Food and Drugs Act, and The Meat Inspection Act-that marked the
beginning of determined federal efforts to assure Americans a safe food and drug
supply. Yet this beginning came only after a long and hard struggle, and achieved
fruition only through the combined efforts of the medical profession, industry,
government, and consumers.
The origins of the struggle can be traced back to 1820 with the development of
the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, an authoritative book that lists all recognized drugs and
prescribes the manner of production and the recommended dosage. Prior to this
time, the medical profession had to rely on the differing European drug standards.
This unwelcomed diversity led to the recognition of the need to create a uniform
national standard. Therefore, in 1820, the medical profession established the U.S.
Pharmacopoeia. Moreover, to supply skilled practitioners capable of meeting
these new drug standards, a college of pharmacy was founded in Philadelphia that
same year.
Yet the creation of drug standards and trained pharmacists could not alleviate
the growing problem caused by the influx of substandard drugs from Europe.
Faced with strict government regulation of drug quality at home, European drug
manufacturers saw the United States, without any drug laws, as the ideal dump-
ing ground for their adulterated products. Unable to prescribe these European
drugs with any assurance since the drug's potency varied within each batch,
the medical community turned to Congress for help. Through the efforts of Ohio
Congressman T. 0. Edwards, himself a physician, Congress took its first step
into the area of drug regulation by enacting the Import Drugs Act of 1848. This
statute prohibited the importation and required the destruction of any imported
drug that did not meet U.S. Pharmacopoeia standards. At first, the statute was
strictly enforced; but since this enactment lacked continued public support,
government appropriations dwindled until the proscription became a sham. It
would take many years before Congress would again act in the area of drug regu-
Meanwhile, the country was undergoing a drastic social revolution. As a result
of the Civil War, the United States had changed from an agrarian to an industrial
society. Urban manufacturing centers grew as the railroads made it possible to
transport large quantities of food. The corporation, rather than the family farm,
became the principal building block of the economic structure.
Copyright  1982 by Academic Press, Inc.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.

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