All food produced in the United States must adhere to government regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD). These organizations are put in place to ensure that United States citizens are eating food that meets basic health and production standards. They also monitor potentially hazardous outbreaks and control existing diseases and health issues. Each organization is different, and monitors unique aspects of food at consumer and producer levels.

FDA

The Food and Drug Administration is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, whose job it is to monitor and approve the production of food and drugs to be consumed by the American public. The FDA monitors everything from prescription drugs, medical devices, vaccines, and over the counter drugs, to veterinary products and beauty products. The FDA is charged with deciding how to name and label foods appropriately and what nutrition information is required on a product. Everything from pet food to bottled water falls under the jurisdiction of the FDA. The FDA is currently headed by Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture monitors the safety, trade, and production of agricultural goods in the United States. All agricultural products produced or sold in the United States must adhere to the rules set forth by the USDA. Part of the USDA’s goal is to ensure that business and production of agricultural goods is conducted fairly with accordance to proper working and production standards, and with regard to fair labor and natural resource preservation. The USDA is headed by the Secretary of Agriculture, currently Tom Vilsack.

CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, located in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC is a broad organization whose goal it is to protect the United States from potentially harmful diseases. Originally founded as a measure against the spread of malaria, the CDC operates on a yearly budget of 8.8 million dollars and has approximately 15,000 staff members. Recent health risks addressed by the CDC include SARS, West Nile virus, avian flu, swine flu, and E. coli. The CDC is currently headed by Dr. Thomas Frieden.