FDA Responsibilities

by Melissa Weaver
The FDA ensures a variety of consumer products are safe, effective and affordable.

The FDA, formally U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is a federal organization that is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services. It is committed to the protection of public health by regulating food products, human and animal prescription medications, medical devices, cosmetic products, tobacco goods and a variety of other consumer items. It ensures that all products are safe, effective and affordable and that consumers have access to the latest products. It is also responsible for making sure the public has access to high-quality health information.

Food Regulation

The FDA regulates food products through the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). The center ensures the U.S. food supply is safe and sanitary as well as nutritious and labeled properly. It regulates the safety of color and food additives, juice and seafood, infant formulas, dietary supplements, international foods and ingredients that are created using biotechnology. It manages food labeling, including health claims and lists of ingredients. The center also uses specialized programs to deal with the associated health risks of food contaminations. The CFSAN collects and evaluates food samples, evaluates food establishments, creates notification programs and keeps track of consumer complaints and reports of unfavorable events.

Regulation of Drugs and Related Products

The FDA regulates drugs and related products through the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). The center ensures medications are safe and work as intended to improve consumer health. All name-brand and generic prescription and over-the-counter medications are regulated. The center also regulates some hygiene products such as antiperspirant deodorants, sunscreen, dandruff shampoo and fluoride toothpaste.

Regulation of Tobacco Products

The FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products regulates tobacco products and supervises the execution of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. It establishes specific standards for performance, implements new warning labels, analyzes pre-market requests for new and improved tobacco goods and sets up and imposes restrictions regarding advertisements and promotions of tobacco products.

Science and Research

The Food and Drug Administration is also responsible for conducting research to help improve public health by assisting with the quick implementation of new regulated products. The FDA conducts evaluations on risks and manages the risk decisions regarding the safety, value and efficacy of regulated products. It applies the most up-to-date technology and relevant standards to the assessment of new products. It also addresses compliance matters and the technologies used to create products. FDA research strives to resolve scientific and technical issues to market the best possible products for consumers. The FDA often works with other government organizations to provide the best possible research.

About the Author

Melissa Weaver started writing professionally in 2008. She has published articles for private clients and on various websites, specializing in education, careers and health. Weaver received a bachelor's degree in early childhood education/special education from the University of Minnesota in 2008 and has an educational background in the health sciences.

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