U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Established in 1927, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects public health by guarding against impure and unsafe foods, drugs, cosmetics, and other potential hazards. The FDA carries out this role through regulation, testing, studies, and consumer advisories. In addition, the FDA actively enforces a number of laws, including the Food Quality Protection Act and Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act, to protect the public against unsafe foods and other products. Foods can be adversely affected by dioxins, mercury, and lead that are ingested or absorbed by, or adhere to animals and plants intended for human consumption. The FDA takes the necessary measures to ensure that these substances do not make the food supply unsafe. It monitors dairy and seafood products for dioxin residues created by fuel burning and material incineration. With respect to mercury, the FDA tests for its bioaccumulation in fish because fetuses and infants are especially sensitive to and can be adversely affected by its presence. Lead, existing in food cans (often imported from foreign countries), plumbing, solder, and brass faucets, has led to the FDA's establishment of a contaminants branch in the office of plant and dairy foods and beverages and the creation of a test kit to screen for the presence of lead.



Parisian, Suzanne. (2001). FDA Inside and Out. Front Royal, VA: Fast Horse Press.

Internet Resource

"Dioxins: FDA Strategy for Monitoring, Method Development, and Reducing Human Exposure." Available at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/dioxstra.html .

Robert F. Gruenig

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