Food and Drug Law Law and Legal Definition
Laws for protecting consumers of food and drugs are mainly governed by federal laws and the main agency responsible for their administration is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is FDA's job to see that the food we eat is safe and wholesome, the cosmetics we use won't hurt us, the medicines and medical devices we use are safe and effective, and that radiation-emitting products such as microwave ovens won't do us harm. Feed and drugs for pets and farm animals also come under FDA scrutiny. FDA also ensures that all of these products are labeled truthfully with the information that people need to use them properly.
FDA is one of our nation's oldest consumer protection agencies. Its approximately 9,000 employees to monitor the manufacture, import, transport, storage and sale of about $1 trillion worth of products each year, including some 1,100 investigators and inspectors who cover the country's almost 95,000 FDA-regulated businesses. The employees of the FDA also include over 2000 scientists to analyze samples of products. Other scientists review test results submitted by companies seeking agency approval for drugs, vaccines, food additives, coloring agents and medical devices.
The primary laws enforced by the FDA include the following acts:
- Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
- The FDA Modernization Act of 1997
- Bioterrorism Act of 2002
If a company is found violating any of the laws that the FDA enforces, the FDA can encourage the firm to voluntarily correct the problem or to recall a faulty product from the market. When a company can't or won't correct a public health problem with one of its products voluntarily, the FDA can go to court to force a company to stop selling a product and to have items already produced seized and destroyed. When warranted, criminal penalties--including prison sentences--are sought against manufacturers and distributors.
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