On June 25, 1938, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The act was a landmark legislation that effectively augmented the federal government's ability to regulate the safety and labeling of food, drugs, devices, and cosmetics. The legislation was the culmination of an effort begun in June 1933 to revise the nation's food and drug laws as then embodied in the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906. In the ensuing 5 years, both houses of the “New Deal” Congress engaged in extensive debate over the extent and nature of authority and autonomy that should be granted to the federal government to regulate such products.

A major impetus for the passage of the legislation was a tragedy in ...

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