Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Malcolm R. Eisler
In the undertaking a recent history of such a fundamental law as one that deals with food, drugs and cosmetics in its relationship to the human race, we should realize that such a field has a history possibly as old as man himself. There have always been individuals in the good and welfare of others, and there have always been individuals interested in taking advantage of their fellow man for personal gain, frequently in an exceedingly unscrupulous manner.
The Solicitor General of the United States, in a recent paper read at the commemoration the the fortieth anniversary of the original Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906 pointed out that "the attempts of organized society to prevent the adulteration of food and drugs date back to ancient times. The racket implicit in the purveying of adulterated and misbranded commodities is now a new one by any means -- it has been practiced from the commencement of recorded times." The officials goes on and recites specific instances, telling how Pliny the Elder complained of "white earth" in his bread, the pepperers and spicers of London in the year 1316 began to regulate the quality of their produce, brewers were subject to fines for adulterating beer in the days of William the Conqueror, food control statutes were passed in France and Germany in the thirteenth century. The first pharmacopoeia was published in England by the College of physicians in 1613. In the fourteenth century the Provost of Paris forade the artificial coloring of butter. In the United States, Congress enacted a law to prevent the importation of adulterated and spurious drugs and medicine as far back as 1846.
The Department of Agriculture through its Division (later Bureau) of Chemistry from 1863 to 1906 in its reports kept calling to the attention of the various Secretaries of Agriculture, and in a measure to the attention of Congress and the people of the United States, the need for remedying conditions of food and drug frauds perpetrated upon the consumer.
Morrissey, William Ebert. (1947). The history and enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act since 1938. University of the Pacific, Thesis. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/336
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