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FDA poster by Ohio Works Progress Administration Art Program, ca. 1930s

The 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act laid the groundwork for the modern Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—the oldest U.S. consumer protection agency. The FDA regulates many aspects of the production and distribution of foods, beverages, drugs, and other medical products. This FDA poster warned truckers not to transport milk from farms stricken by disease outbreaks.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

FDA poster by Ohio Works Progress Administration Art Program, ca. 1930s

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.