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Notices of Judgment Archives 1907-1966
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Historical Note

The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the first of a series of significant consumer protection laws enacted by the Federal Government and led eventually to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Its main purpose was to ban foreign and interstate traffic in adulterated or mislabeled food and drug products, and it directed the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry to inspect products and refer offenders to prosecutors. It required that active ingredients be placed on the label of a drug's packaging and that drugs could not fall below purity levels established by The United States Pharmacopeia or The National Formulary. Initially concerned with ensuring products were labeled correctly, it evolved to include the outlaw of certain products that were not safe nor effective. It also required that drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, morphine, and cannabis, be accurately labeled with contents and dosage. Previously many drugs had been sold as patent medicines with secret ingredients or misleading labels.

Bureaucratically, the NJs formed into four categories as represented in the online edition: Combined Foods and Drugs; Foods; Drugs and Devices; Cosmetics. Not represented here is a fifth category Caustic Poison, Naval Stores, and Insecticides. These categories represent the evolution of the Act and its authorities.