The U S. Food and Drug Administration is a scientific, regulatory, and public health agency that oversees items accounting for 25 cents of every dollar spent by consumers. Its jurisdiction encompasses most food products (other than meat and poultry), human and animal drugs, therapeutic agents of biological origin, medical devices, radiation-emitting products for consumer, medical, and occupational use, cosmetics, and animal feed.
The agency grew from a single chemist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862 to a staff of approximately 9,100 employees and a budget of $1.294 billion in 2001, comprising chemists, pharmacologists, physicians, microbiologists, veterinarians, pharmacists, lawyers, and many others.
About one-third of the agency’s employees are stationed outside of the Washington, D. C. area, staffing over 150 field offices and laboratories, including five regional offices and 20 district offices. Agency scientists evaluate applications for new human drugs and biologics, complex medical devices, food and color additives, infant formulas, and animal drugs.