Science and Medicine
The government needs doctors, food scientists, nutritionists, pharmacologists, and other scientists to help establish safety regulations for the food and medicines Americans consume and use every day. This chapter explains who does what and why, and how you can be a part of this important work.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the nation’s oldest consumer protection agencies. Its mission is “to promote and protect the public health by helping safe and effective products reach the market in a timely way, to monitor products for continued safety after they are in use, and to help the public get the accurate, sciencebased information needed to improve health.”
The FDA is typically the agency that alerts Americans about the potential health risks of certain foods.
In September of 2006, people in numerous states began to get
very ill. The FDA determined that their illness was caused by loose,
bagged spinach. Some spinach had been infected with deadly E.
coli bacteria. At first, the FDA did not know which company had pro-
cessed the tainted spinach, so all bagged spinach was removed from
The FDA also changed how we take over-the-counter medication, due to a series of murders that took place in Chicago in 1982. Seven