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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

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Centennial of FDA

Harvey W. Wiley, M.D.
Harvey Washington Wiley, Chief Chemist, 1883-1912

The year 2006 marked the centennial of the law that gave rise to widespread consumer protection in the U. S., a law that in many ways was a hallmark of the Progressive Era. Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 30, 1906, the legislation that outlawed adulterated and misbranded food and drugs had traversed a difficult course that lasted 25 years and a hundred bills. The law emerged as a result of dedicated work by many civic activists, state officials, health professionals, journalists, politicians, and others. However, few worked as hard, as long, and as effectively for the cause of consumer protection as Harvey Wiley, Chief Chemist of the Bureau of Chemistry in the U. S. Department of Agriculture, considered by many the father of the FDA.

The FDA recognized this anniversary in many diverse ways, from lectures, publications, and symposia, to musical performances, a bicycle race, and special web site commemorations. The documents here both recognize this key milestone in U. S. and FDA history and explore why the 1906 law was a turning point in the history of the American consumer.