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Eleven decades of US American Federal Food Law

How the FDA acquired its statutory powers

Nathan Meijer, Nikolaas Tilkin-Franssens, Bernd van der Meulen

Due to the increased interstate commerce and international trade in the United States of the early 1900s, the need for regulation by a federal agency became apparent. What was to become the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – responsible for this task – was founded in 1906. Various crises over the years led to enhanced administrative powers, which in turn were often challenged and clarified in court. This article gives an overview of the timeline of food risk management as performed by the FDA between 1906 and 2015, with a focus on the major legislation impacting its powers and the developments that led to them.

Nathan and Nikolaas are MSc students in the program Food Safety Law at Wageningen University. Under the guidance and supervision of Bernd, professor of Law and Governance at Wageningen University they wrote a paper in the course International and American Food Law that they subsequently turned into this article. We use American English spelling throughout this article as the topic is US American and sources use American spelling.


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