The Food and Drug Administration has been around, in one form or another, for almost 200 years. In 1820, the U.S. Pharmacopeia provided the first compilation of “standard drugs” for the U.S. In1862, President  Lincoln appointed a chemist to serve in the new Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Chemistry, predecessor of the FDA, was formed. Later, in 1902, the Biologics Control Act and the Meat Inspection Act were passed into law, and in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act. This prohibited interstate commerce in misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks and drugs.

In 1949, the FDA published a guide,“Procedures for the Appraisal of the Toxic Chemicals in food.” Then came the Miller Pesticide Amendment, the Color Additive Amendment and the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act. Sounds like they’re taking pretty good care of us, making sure the things we use and eat everyday are safe for us and our families.

In 1962, the Consumer Bill of Rights was proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy. Included in it are the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose from a variety of products and the right to be heard. I like the sound of all of those.

Maybe in the beginning they were all about protecting the public, but now, things are different. The FDA, big ag and pharma are all scratching each other’s backs, while people like you and me are being exposed to life threatening chemicals like pesticides, artificial sweeteners, food additives, and GMO/GE foods.

The FDA recently moved to ban the use of trans-fats, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which were found to cause about 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year. Unfortunately, the ban won’t go into effect for three years. How many more heart attacks and deaths? You do the math.

This ban also has too many loopholes, like the one that allows processed food manufacturers to avoid full disclosure of package contents.

I hope this makes you angry like it does me. The best way to vent our anger is to contact our political representatives and tell them we want the FDA to be the agency it was meant to be, one that looks out for and protects the people of this country, not companies like Monsanto.

Kristina Baker