S. 88, Draft bill of the Pure Food and Drug Act, December 14, 1905
Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle revealed unsanitary conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants, arousing public demand for food safety. For the first time, Congress took responsibility for consumer protection by passing the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which banned the manufacture and sale of any adulterated, harmful, or mislabeled food, beverage, or drug product.
A BILL For preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors…
Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration
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.