The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the manufacture and distribution of products like food, medicine, tobacco, cosmetics, medical products and devices, veterinary products, and pet food. The FDA's main responsibility is to protect our food supply, which is of vital importance for health and national security. This agency makes the guidelines that govern production and testing of new drugs and is responsible for directing recalls of medications or products found to be unsafe. The FDA is also responsible for the safety of devices that produce radiation, like x-ray machines and microwave ovens. It operates its own research and testing laboratories focused on ensuring consumer safety, manufacturer transparency, and innovation. The FDA also recommends or speaks out against legislation which might improve or harm consumer safety.
Does the FDA regulate all food products?
No. The FDA directly regulates only the most troublesome consumer products, especially drugs. Yet, the agency works closely with the Department of Agriculture to help regulate meat from livestock, poultry, and egg products. Most health supplements consumed as food do not require regulation by the FDA.
Can I report problems with drugs or medical products to the FDA?
Yes. The FDA's MedWatch program allows doctors, pharmacists, and consumers to report problems with medicines or medical devices directly. This program allows the agency to respond quickly at the first sign of trouble.
How is the FDA organized?
The FDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is led by a commissioner's office. There are also four subdivisions which oversee medical products and tobacco, foods and veterinary medicine, global regulatory operations and policy, and internal operations.