FDA commemorates a century of protecting and promoting public health

June 30, 2006 — /FDA News/ — College Park, Md. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today will celebrate the centennial of the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 at an event dedicated to the agency’s past, present and future service to the nation.

The ceremony, which will be held at the FDA’s Harvey W. Wiley federal building, will feature U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt and Acting FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D. Also in attendance will be senior leaders of the agency, and scores of current and former FDA employees and special guests including former Commissioners of Food and Drugs, representatives of consumer and trade groups, and descendants of Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, the scientist whose early support of food and drug regulations earned him the title of “Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act.” Dr. Wiley served as the first director of the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States Department of Agriculture, which later became the FDA.

In addition to presentations by Secretary Leavitt and Acting Commissioner Dr. von Eschenbach, the program’s highlights include an overview of the coming public health opportunities and challenges by FDA’s Deputy Commissioners and other senior leaders of the agency. Sean K. Sullivan, Associate Publisher of Good Housekeeping magazine, will speak about Dr. Wiley’s work following government service as Director of the Bureau of Foods, Sanitation and Health for Good Housekeeping magazine.

The modern FDA dates its origin to June 1906, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act and Congress embarked on a policy of continuous strengthening of public health protections and of their enforcement, first by the Bureau of Chemistry, and later by the FDA. Since then, Americans have benefited from increasingly comprehensive, science-based safeguards for myriad products essential for health, survival and high quality of life.

Today, these products represent almost 25% of all U.S. consumer spending and include 80% of the national food supply as well as all human drugs, vaccines, blood products, medical devices, tissues for transplantation, radiation-emitting equipment, and animal drugs and feed.

The FDA’s centennial celebration, which include conferences and special forums in cities from coast to coast, have the following aims:

* Observe FDA’s role — past, present and future – domestically and internationally in protecting and promoting the health of the public;
* Inspire future efforts to advance science, innovation, and public health through partnerships and alliances with key FDA stakeholders;
* Attract new generations of regulatory scientists; and
* Salute the contributions of FDA employees, alumni, legislators, academicians, industry, consumer groups, and public health leaders to fulfilling FDA’s mission.

Today’s ceremony will be held at the Harvey W. Wiley Federal Building at 5100 Paint Branch Parkway at River Road in College Park, MD., from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. For full details of the event’s program, see http://www.fda.gov/centennial/program/program.html

Media Inquiries: Catherine McDermott

Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA


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