The Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency that has been around in one form or another for more than a century. The "pre-historic" FDA existed from 1862 until the "modern" era of the agency began in 1906. Prior to the beginning of the "modern" era, the FDA was known as the Division of Chemistry and then the Bureau of Chemistry.
In 1906, Congress passed the Federal Food and Drugs Act, which reorganized the Bureau of Chemistry. In 1927, the organization was renamed the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration, and the agency assumed its current name in 1930.
The FDA has always been charged with keeping the public safe, and its self-proclaimed mission appears on the FDA Web site:
"The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health."