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Legislation That Shaped Our Current Environmental Movement, Agricultural Industry and Food Safety

7 Oct. 2011 Posted by Hannah Mich in Legislation, EPA, FDA, USDA, environment, agriculture
legislation, EPA, FDA, USDA

It is hard to progress forward unless you know where we have been. Therefore, I thought it vital that we review the history of environmental, agricultural and food safety legislation, including the development of important government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Although this list is not all-inclusive of past legislation, it should help you understand how certain government agencies developed and the role of government regulation.

1862 United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA

  • The USDA regulates farming, agriculture and food safety.

1890 Meat Inspection Act

  • Amended 1891, 1897, 1906
  • This act set guidelines for the processing and selling of meat products.

1899 Refuse Act

  • This act governs the use of waterways, including the dumping of waste.

1900 Lacey Act

  • Amended 1981, 2008
  • Protects and prohibits the illegal transportation of wildlife, fish and plants.

1902 Biologics Control Act, Center of Biologics Evaluation and Research [CBER]

  • Regulates biological products, such as vaccines, to ensure safety.

1906 Food and Drug Administration, of FDA

  • Regulates food and drug safety, protecting consumers.

1906 Pure Food and Drug Act

  • Allowed federal inspection of meat products and regulation of medicines.

1916 Federal Farm Loan Act

  • It made loans more available to farmers and their family.

1916 Cotton Futures Act of 1916

  • Regulated the production and sale of cotton.

1917 Food Control and Production Acts

  • Stimulate and regulate agriculture/food production.

1917 Lever’s Act, Food and Fuel Control Act

  • Gave the government limited regulatory control over food, oil, gas, and coal.

1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act [MBTA]

  • Regulates the hunting, selling and purchasing of birds

1921 Packers and Stockyards Act

  • Regulates the meat and poultry industry

1922 Grain Futures Act

  • Regulates the grain market

1923 Agricultural Credits Act

  • Developed Credit Banks to lend money to farm cooperatives associations.

1929 Agricultural Marketing Act

  • Was used to try and stop the decrease in crop prices.

1930 Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act

  • Regulates the buying and selling of fruits and vegetables.

1930 Foreign Agricultural Service Act

  • Developed the Foreign Agricultural Service, which is part of the USDA

1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act, Agricultural Adjustment Administration

  • Provided subsidies to farmers to help reduce over-production

1933 Farm Credit Act

  • Allowed farmers to refinance their mortgages.

1935 Resettlement Administration

  • Operated until 1946 relocating struggling families to planned communities.

1936 Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act

  • This act helped reduce soil erosion caused by over-farming land.

1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act

  • Amended 1951, 1962
  • Allowed the FDA to regulate the safety of all food, drugs and cosmetics.

1941 National Victory Garden Program

  • Gardens were planted to ease the public food system during war.

1941 Steagall Amendment

  • Provided federal financial assists for non-basic goods.

1944 Public Health Service Act

  • Amended 1970, 1971, 1996, 2001, 2010
  • Regulates public health services.

1946 Fish & Wildlife Coordination Act

  • Regulates water resource projects impact on fish and wildlife.

1946 Famers Home Administration

  • Provides loans and grants for rural development

1946 National School Lunch Act and Program

  • Provides low-cost or free lunches to qualified students

1946 Research and Marketing Act

  • Provides the research to improve the marketing of agricultural products.

1947 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

  • Re-written 1972 and amended 1988
  • Regulates Pesticides.

1948 Clean Water Act

  • Amended 1966, 1972 and almost every year following
  • Purpose to restore and maintain clean water.

1949 Agricultural Act

  • Amended 1954, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1964, 1970
  • To provided assistance to the States for the School Lunch Program

1954 Food for Peace Act

  • Provide food for overseas aid.

1955 Air Pollution Control Act, Clean Air Act

  • Amended 1963, 1967, 1970, 1977, 1990
  • Regulate and research air pollution.

1956 Mutual Security Act

  • Provided foreign aid to allies.

1956 Soil Band Program Authorized

  • Paid farmers to retire land for 10 years.

1957 Poultry Inspection Act [Poultry Products Inspection Act]

  • Regulate and inspect poultry products.

1958 Food Additives Amendments [part of Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act]

  • Regulate salt, nitrates and other food additives

1958 Humane Slaughter Act

  • Protect livestock during slaughtering process.

1964 Food Stamp Act

  • Created food stamp program for low-income families.

1964 Wilderness Act

  • Amended 1970, 1978
  • Evaluate and preserve wilderness areas

1964 Food Stamp Act

  • Amended 1971, 1977, 1980, 1981
  • Develop Food Stamp Program for low-income families.

1965 Food and Agriculture Act

  • Extended in 1970 and amended 1977
  • Helped develop agriculture and food production

1965 Solid Waste Disposable Act

  • Amended 1976, 1984
  • Improved waste management, which was a mounting problem.

1965 Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act

  • Set emissions standards for vehicles.

1966 Child Nutrition Act

  • Extension of the National School Lunch Program.

1966 Fair Packaging and Labeling Act

  • Sets guidelines for labels on consumer products.

1966 Endangered Species Preservation Act

  • Amended 1969
  • Identified national endangered species and provided protection.

1967 Wholesome Meat Act

  • State inspection meat programs must be at least equal to federal.

1968 Wholesome Poultry Products Act

  • State inspection poultry programs must be at least equal to federal.

1968 Scenic Rivers Preservation Act, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System

  • Preserves national rivers.

1969 National Environmental Policy Act, Environmental Impact Statement

  • Makes environmental impact a priority with federal decisions.

1970 Resource Recovery Act

  • Helps local government with resource recovery and waste disposal.

1970 Environmental Quality Improvement Act

  • Amended 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1984
  • Implementation of environmental policies

1970 Water Quality Improvement Act

  • Extended protection to water quality.

1970 Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA

  • Enforcement of environmental protection policies.

1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act

  • Protection of Marine Mammals

1972 Rural Development Act

  • Help develop rural areas in the United States.

1972 Consumer Product Safety Act, Consumer Product Safety Commission

  • Standards to reduce product safety risks.

1972 Noise Control Act

  • Set standards for noise control for vehicles and other sources.

1973 Endangered Species Act

  • Conservation of endangered animals, plants and habitat.

1973 Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act

  • Supplemented farmer’s income, such as disaster payments.

1974 Safe Drinking Water Act

  • Amended 1986, 1996
  • Protects of the quality of Americans’ drinking water.

1975 Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

  • Provides protection against the transportation of hazardous materials.

1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

  • Amended 1984
  • EPA authority to manage waste from “cradle-to-grave.”

1976 Toxic Substances Control Act

  • EPA ability to monitor and control existing and new chemicals.

1975 Medical Device Regulation Act [part of Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act]

  • Regulation of medical devices.

1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

  • Regulates coal mining and environmental impact.

1980 CERCLA, or Superfund

  • Amended 1986
  • Taxed chemical and petroleum companies.
  • Money put towards cleaning up hazardous waste.

1980 Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act, or ANILCA
* Protects 100 million acres of land in Alaska.

1982 Nuclear Waster Repository Act

  • Management of nuclear waste disposal.

1985 Food Security Act

  • Provides income and price support, and disaster payment for agriculture.

1987 Prescription Drug Marketing Act

  • Regulates the distribution of prescription drugs.

1990 Oil Pollution Act

  • Improved response to oil spills.

1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, or NLEA

  • Require all FDA regulated food to have proper nutrition labels.

1992 Prescription Drug User Fee Act

  • Amended 1997 and 2007
  • Charge fees on certain human drug and biological products.

1994 North American Free Trade Agreement

  • Trade among Canada, U.S. and Mexico

1994 California Desert Land Protection Act

  • Amended 2010
  • Preserves California desert land.

1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act

  • Companies must ensure dietary supplements are safe.

1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act, or Freedom to Farm Act

  • Simplifies federal financial support to agriculture industry.

1996 Food Quality Protection Act

  • Fundamentally change the way the EPA regulated pesticides.

2000 Agriculture Risk Protection Act

  • Increased government subsidies to the crop insurance program.

2002 Bioterrorism Act

  • Protect the food supply against terrorism.

2002 Plant Protection Act

  • Allows USDA to regulate plants, plant products and weeds.

2002 Farm Security and Risk Protection Act

  • Farm subsidies and programs.

2002 Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act

  • Amended the CERCLA or Superfund Act

2003 Healthy Forests Initiative

  • Improve national forest health and reduce wildfires.

2007 Food and Drug Administration Amendment Act of 2007

  • Open up resources for the FDA to enforce important policies.

2008 Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008

  • Continuation of agricultural subsidies.

2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act

  • Wildlife conservation.

2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

  • Regulate tobacco industry, implementing new warning labels.

2010 Food Safety Enhancement Act

  • Gives FDA more oversight to food safety and production.

2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act
* Increase inspection of domestic food facilities and order recalls of food.

Call To Action: 

Stay up-to-date with changes to legislation
Communicate with your state representative about legislation that is important to you

United States Department of Agriculture: Condensed History of American Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture: Plant Health
National Institutes of Health: Biologics
Food and Drug Administration: History
Food and Drug Administration: Legislation
United States Department of Agriculture: History of American Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture: MBTA
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission: History of CFTC
Food and Drug Administration: Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
Food and Drug Administration: Public Health Services Act
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services: Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
Environmental Protection Agency: History of Clean Air Act
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
United States Department of Agriculture: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Consumer Product Safety Commission: Consumer Product Safety Act
Environmental Protection Agency: Summary of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Environmental Protection Agency: CERCLA Overview
National Parks Conservation Association: ANILCA

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