New Exhibit Celebrates FDA History

The history of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can be traced all the way back to 1862. That’s when the head of the Agriculture Department under President Lincoln appointed the first chemist to research grape varieties for their sugar content to help develop the country’s early wine industry.

This is just one of the fun and interesting facts featured in the first permanent exhibit documenting the FDA’s history. The exhibit is in the FDA’s White Oak, Md., campus, where NTEU proudly represents employees, but you can take a video tour of it here

The exhibit traces the agency from its beginnings, with a single chemist working in a small laboratory in the basement of the U. S. Patent Building. It follows a timeline that includes 1938 legislation that brought cosmetics and medical devices under federal regulation and protesters in 1988 whose determined activism propelled the FDA to explore experimental treatments and expedite approval of AIDS drugs, to today’s fast-evolving public health challenges.

The exhibit also spotlights some of the groundbreaking work of FDA employees, including those in the 1960s who refused to give FDA approval to the drug thalidomide and who disproved a popular cancer treatment marketed as a cure for the disease. 

Learn more here