FDA: A History – Pre 1906



starting with the Civil War the canned foods industry group the original cans were soldered by hand often with lead sometimes she didn't get the same is quite right that you could have microorganisms could get in and breed and ferment most of the time that's pretty obvious to the consumer either candle explode you open it up and it'll be putrid or you'll have some indication that the food is unfit for food to be eaten but as we found out later obviously there were things like botulism and things like that that couldn't be seen in the foods food seemed perfectly safe in the 19th century and up to 1906 in the US the situation with food and drugs was essentially a free-for-all there were no rules there were no regulations people could do whatever they wanted a drug package would say this cures cancer and scrofula and dandruff and corns and everything you can imagine and I had 50 ingredients all of which were nutty ingredients it didn't make any difference it was all promotion when the Bureau of chemistry began in the 1860s the focus really wasn't on on consumer product so not in a sense of foods or drugs or so on they were more concerned with with commodities of great interest to farmers so they were looking at things like fertilizers Harvey Washington Wiley came to the Department of Agriculture in 1883 from his post as professor of chemistry at Purdue University and state chemist of the state of Indiana he is the person who probably more than anybody else functions as a visionary for sort of a science-based program of food drug chemistry regulation applying principles of 19th century chemistry in particular German chemistry to regulatory issues in the United States he hired a lot of their scientists with European backgrounds and he hired a lot of people from the land-grant College Network in the United States and that land-grant college network had been established in 1862 under the Morrill land-grant Act but slowly each state began to build its own land-grant college which was usually an agricultural or mechanical college or in some cases both as in Texas A&M and the USDA began to recruit disproportionately from these schools so it was a combination of European scientists and then sort of farm grown rural II socialized and developed boys coming off the farms who had gotten their science training at these land grant colleges and then here they were in Washington

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