Protecting the Nation's Food

With the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, Congress established the federal government’s role in protecting the public’s health and welfare. Previously, national regulations ensuring the safety of food or drugs did not exist. Consumer advocates, crusading journalists, and President Theodore Roosevelt—alarmed by threats to public health from food adulteration and contamination—pushed for regulations. Despite strenuous opposition from food and patent medicine manufacturers, Congress set standards for the interstate shipment of food and drugs.