FDA’s responsibilities are closely related to those of several other government agencies. Often frustrating and confusing for consumers is determining the appropriate regulatory agency to contact. The following contact information is for government agencies that have functions related to that of FDA.
The Federal Trade Commission is the federal agency, which regulates all advertising, excluding prescription drugs and medical devices. FTC ensures that advertisements are truthful and not misleading for consumers.
The labeling and quality of alcoholic beverages are regulated by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
While FDA regulates a large portion of the products that consumers purchase, the agency has no jurisdiction over many household goods. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for ensuring the safety of consumer goods such as household appliances (excluding those that emit radiation), paint, child-resistant packages, and baby toys.
Drugs of Abuse
Illegal drugs with no approved medical use–such as heroin and marijuana–are under the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration. FDA assists DEA in deciding how stringent DEA controls should be on drugs that are medically accepted but that have a strong potential for abuse. DEA establishes limits on the amount of these prescription drugs that are permitted to be manufactured each year
FDA does not regulate health insurance, the cost of health care products or procedures, or reimbursement for health and medical expenses. Questions about Medicare should be directed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Meat and Poultry
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is responsible for the safety and labeling of traditional meats and poultry. (FDA regulates game meats, such as venison, ostrich and snake.)
FDA, USDA, and the Environmental Protection Agency share the responsibility for regulating pesticides. EPA determines the safety and effectiveness of the chemicals and establishes tolerance levels for residues on feed crops, as well as for raw and processed foods. These tolerance levels (the amount of pesticide allowed to be present in a food product) are normally set 100 times below the level that might cause harm to people or the environment. FDA and USDA are responsible for monitoring the food supply to ensure that pesticide residues do not exceed the allowable levels in the products under their jurisdiction.
Restaurants and Grocery Stores
Local county health departments typically handle inspections and licensing of restaurants and grocery stores.
The regulation of water is divided between the Environmental Protection Agency and FDA. EPA has the responsibility for developing national standards for drinking water from municipal water supplies. FDA regulates the labeling and safety of bottled water.