There were two major events that were the catalyst for Congress forming the Federal Drug Administration.
The first was the brainchild of Harvey Wiley who was concerned about the preservatives that were put into food. In 1902 he recruited twelve young men for an experiment. They lived on a designated compound and ate only the menu that he supplied. The twist was that his menu included increasing doses of chemicals that were at that time being used as preservatives. Over time that gang of twelve men (possibly even angry men) became known as the Poison Squad. In 1906 Wiley presented his findings on the effects of those preservatives on those men. That presentation was one piece persuading Congress to form the FDA.
The second piece was a novel that was also published in 1906: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. This novel, although fictional, realistically portrayed the struggles of an immigrant family working in the meatpacking industry of Chicago. One incident in the novel told of how a man fell into the meat grinder and the meat was packaged and sold anyway. Although it was a novel and not a news report, it persuaded public opinion and pressured Congress to be the watchdog guarding public safety in regard to food. That is the FDA’s past and I doubt there is anyone who sees those early years of the FDA as anything but good.
The FDA Today
Today the FDA still upholds the role of a consumer watchdog and we don’t dispute that most of what they do is good. However, we do question some regulations and restrictions. In particular, we have concerns about the huge net they cast in regard to tobacco. Until recently the agency recognized a distinction between cigarettes and cigars, and we think rightly so.
Now they have placed similar restrictions on cigars. The financial costs of compiling with new regulations and restrictions threaten to bankrupt artisan boutiques like Tabanero Cigars.
What does the future hold?
If the current regulations go into effect could be a sad and ugly for Ybor City. The future hasn’t been written yet and there still may be time to save this beautiful dream. We invite you to be wily like Harvey Wiley and research the differences between our non-additive, all natural, handmade cigars and their cigarettes. We also ask you to stand with us to be a voice for change like Upton Sinclair so together we can preserve our business and our rich heritage.