General view of an employee in the Bureau of Chemistry's Phytochemical Laboratory using a distillation apparatus to concentrate the odorous constituents of apples and peaches. Part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Phytochemical Laboratory conducted research to ascertain the nature of the chemical substances that impart edible fruits with particular aromas. Such research was undertaken to help regulate the adulteration of natural fruit juices and artificial flavorings.
The Bureau of Chemistry was established in 1901 through Congressional appropriations as a successor to the U.S.D.A. Division of Chemistry and significantly built upon the work of its predecessor, which researched the adulteration and misbranding of food and drugs on the American market. The 1906 Food and Drug Act notably increased the Bureau’s regulatory powers and led to the establishment of laboratories for testing the purity and composition of foods and drugs. In 1927, the Bureau of Chemistry effectively disbanded when its powers were reorganized under a new U.S.D.A. body, the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Organization (later the Food and Drug Administration).
United States. Food and Drug Administration. “Bureau of Chemistry Phytochemical Laboratory,” n.d. USDA Bureau of Chemistry Photograph Collection, Box 1. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/ng451h91f.
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