Abstract

FDA is responsible for assuring the safety, security and accurate labeling of the nation’s food supply. As noted elsewhere, FDA regulates goods that constitute about 25 % of all U.S. expenditures, and foods account for about three-quarters of the total value of goods regulated by FDA. As such, FDA enforces regulations which apply from “farm to fork”, including over $400 billion worth of domestic food, about $50 billion worth of imported foods, and over $60 billion worth of cosmetics sold across state lines. The FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is responsible for carrying out FDA’s food mission which is to promote and protect the public’s health by ensuring that the nation’s food supply is safe, sanitary, wholesome, and honestly labeled. Surprisingly, the Center is also responsible for ensuring that cosmetic products are safe and properly labeled. For FDA the term “food” means (1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals; (2) chewing gum; and (3) articles used for components of any such article. FDA is also in charge of all food additives, for example, preservatives added to extend the shelf life of prepared foods. There are, however, some important and not obvious exceptions to FDA’s food jurisdiction. For example, most meats and meat-containing products are regulated by the Department of Agriculture, which also shares regulatory authority over eggs. However, exotic meats (game) and seafood are under FDA as are dietary supplements. Other federal agencies also have some responsibility for regulation of food products. For example, the United State Environment Protection Agency (EPA) regulates levels of allowable contaminants in public drinking water, whereas FDA regulates bottled water.

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