Deborah Blum provides a brief history of food regulation in America. Among the more extreme efforts to increase food safety:
[USDA scientist Harvey Washington Wiley's] plan was simple from the beginning. He'd build a test kitchen and dining room in the basement of the Agriculture Department building on Independence Avenue. Then he'd serve poisoned food to a group of young volunteers. Wiley chose men in their 20s because he thought they were sturdy enough to withstand the diet he had in mind.