Menu
Image 1 of
Zoom In
Zoom Out
Fullscreen

S. 6219, A Bill . . . for the inspection . . . of . . . live cattle, sheep, swine, and goats, and . . . food products thereof (Meat Inspection Act of 1906), May 21, 1906

Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana introduced a bill that, revised and attached to agricultural appropriation legislation, became the Meat Inspection Act. It set sanitary standards for companies shipping meat across state lines and prohibited adulteration or mislabeling. With this act and the Pure Food and Drug Act––both signed June 30, 1906––Congress assumed responsibility for American food safety.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

S. 6219, A Bill . . . for the inspection . . . of . . . live cattle, sheep, swine, and goats, and . . . food products thereof (Meat Inspection Act of 1906), May 21, 1906

Upton Sinclair: Cleaning Up the Meat Industry

Upton Sinclair intended his novel The Jungle to be an exposé of industrial labor, but the book had the unexpected result of moving Congress for the first time to regulate food safety. In researching his story of immigrant workers in Chicago’s meatpacking plants, Sinclair witnessed and described the dangerous, unsanitary practices of slaughterhouses and meatpackers. His revelations created an international uproar, prompting Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, to introduce legislation that Congress approved as the Meat Inspection Act of 1906.

I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.

Upton Sinclair, “What Life Means to Me,” Cosmopolitan, October 1906