Pure Food and Drug Act 34 Stat. 768 (1906)

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PURE FOOD AND DRUG ACT 34 Stat. 768 (1906)

Typical of the progressive legislation passed after the turn of the century, this act extended the national police power to regulate the quality of food and drugs in interstate commerce. a personal crusade by the chief chemist of the Department of Agriculture together with the muckrakers' stomach-churning exposés fanned public opinion. President theodore roosevelt's backstage maneuvering also helped secure passage of this federal inspection act on June 30, 1906.

The act outlawed the manufacture of "adulterated or misbranded" food or drugs and prohibited their introduction into interstate or foreign commerce. Congress gave the secretaries of agriculture, treasury, and commerce and labor authority to issue regulations enforcing the act and specifically provided procedural due process for violators. The act forbade: misbranding of food; the use of imitations, substitutes, harmful additives, rotten ingredients; and concealment of "damage or inferiority." Drugs were required to meet federal standards of quality, purity, and strength or clearly label their departures from the standards.

The Supreme Court sustained this act in hipolite egg company v. united states (1911) as a legitimate exercise of congressional power over commerce. Congress substantially tightened and extended it in the food, drug, and cosmetic act of 1938.

David Gordon
(1986)