Food and Drug Safety
Food is a necessity of life, and for many people the same can be said of medicines. Foods and medicines have been for millennia man-made to one extent or another and subject to choice by consumers. Through ignorance or avarice on the part of producers, consumers can buy products that harm, even kill, them. Meet some of the crusaders in the fight that continues to this day to guarantee the safety and effectiveness of what we put in our mouths.
Through tactics like the “Poison Squad,” Harvey Washington Wiley waged continuous warfare on adulterated foods and later drugs. The result was the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906.
A drug-related tragedy ultimately provided the impetus for the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that FDA chief Walter Campbell had long sought.
When people called Mary Engle Pennington “The Ice Lady,” it was not because of her personality. She spent most of her career studying refrigeration and how best to use it to keep foods fresh and safe to eat.
Frances Kelsey’s diligence helped prevent a generation of “thalidomide babies” in the United States and led to the important Kefauver-Harris Amendment to the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.