Creation of the FDA, 1906 FDA

GROUP: Hybrid


  • Shweta Nanda
  • Angelysse Madsen
Email Committee Chair

It’s the early 1900s and the men of the meatpacking industry have it best. In an effort to secure more profits as the industry takes off, producers capitalize on the use of cheap labour and a lack of regulation. Workers within slaughterhouses are immigrants, and many are child laborers, but all work in horrendous conditions. Not only are they subject to such conditions, but they also have to cope with long hours, unsafe machinery, and pitifully low wages. In contrast, producers thrive due to the lack of regulation. Meats are contaminated, rotten, or infested with bacteria. Workers are not told to quality-check their products or wear protective clothing. Although it exists, refrigeration is an issue, as are basic hygiene concerns like dropping meat on filthy floors and mixing bodily fluids like blood and bile with the meat. Evidently, the industry lacks any regulation, and its procedures are offensive to workers and onlookers alike.
Enter muckraking, a type of journalism that exposes political and social nightmares against the meatpacking and labor industries. Journalist Upton Sinclar’s The Jungle provokes the administration of Theodore Roosevelt to enact changes. Although originally written to address the destitute working conditions of immigrants, The Jungle was more responsible for reforming food regulation through its vivid descriptions of the terrible conditions of the meat industry. Reactions to the book resulted in the creation of the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration, now known as the FDA.

As founding members of this new government body, you are tasked with balancing the demands of powerful corporate owners and factory workers to decide the future of food, drug, and labor regulation in the United States. Delegates in this committee will simulate the creation of the FDA and will draft a document that outlines the goals and standards of this new organization. After the passage of this document, delegates will navigate many hoops with their organization on the route to creating substantial change in the United States labor and food market. This committee will address a variety of topics including the course of the meatpacking industry, immigrant rights, labour strikes, child labour, coporate oversight, journalistic practices, and health regulations.

This committee will incorporate elements of a traditional GA through the writing of the FDA guidelines for the first two sessions. The rest of the sessions will be continuous crisis.