The Agriculture and Food Chemistry Division (AGFD) was founded in 1908 shortly after passage of the first U.S. food regulations in 1906. Modern food regulations started with the passage of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938. This Act has been amended several times to keep pace with developments in food chemistry. In 1958 the Food Additives Amendment was enacted to control substances added to food. Since 1958 scientific techniques have been developed to evaluate the safety and carcinogenicity of substances in the food supply. In the 1970s and 1980s AGFD symposia and books addressed compounds of concern in foods. In the 1990s food safety and nutrition regulations followed new developments in food and nutrition chemistry. Recently, the well-studied toxin acrylamide was discovered in food and presented regulators with new questions on safety and control in the food supply. Discoveries and developments in chemistry such as those in nanotechnology will continue to present challenges to food regulators.

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