1998 32¢ Pure Food and Drugs Act
Celebrate the Century – 1900s
Issue Date: February 3, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11 ½
At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a great deal of public pressure to improve the standards governing America’s food and drug industries. Many states had food laws, but they were not well enforced. Also, regulations varied between states, and products that were legal in one state could make their way into other states where they were illegal.
For nearly 20 years, the chief of the Bureau of Chemistry in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Harvey W. Wiley, had been gathering information to prove the need for a federal food and drug law. His work gained support by consumer groups, journalists, the American Medical Association, and eventually President Theodore Roosevelt. Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, which exposed the unsanitary practices of the meat industry, is also credited for bringing the federal government into the food and drug industries.
The Pure Food and Drugs Act was passed by Congress in 1906, along with the Meat Inspection Act. This marked the beginning of federal regulation of food and drug preparation and the accurate labeling of these products. This act prohibited the movement of impure food and drugs between states. It has protected the health of Americans throughout this century.