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The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was enacted because the earlier Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906 was not worded strictly enough and did not include cosmetics. Two important concepts introduced in this new act were adulteration and misbranding. For example, false or exaggerated claims commonly were placed on new drug labels and often misled the consumer. This was considered misbranding. All controlled substances were required to be labeled “Warning: May be habit forming.” This act also provided the legal status for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Adulteration deals with the preparation and/or storage of a medication. Mishandling of the food or drug may cause injury or even death to a consumer. This act described the exact labeling for products and defined misbranding and adulteration as being illegal. The new law also required drug companies to include package inserts and directions to the consumer regarding safe use (see more information under the section titled.

Does it mean rank , position of FDA ?

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Prior to the 1938 Act, the FDA's regulatory authority was very limited. It had been created in the 1906 Act but given insufficient power to actually regulate the food and drug industries. Status here follows definition 2 below:

status: (n) the condition of a person or thing in the eyes of the law

In this case it specifically means that the list of regulatory powers given after the sentence you marked are part of the FDA's current condition (i.e. regulatory responsibility) since the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938.

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Legal status is a very common word especially when we talk about official organisations. It refers to "a status defined by law". And this status may encompass the following areas:

-law, jurisprudence

-status, position

-civil death

-villainage, villeinage

-citizenship

-marital status

-nonage, minority

My explanation is based on Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

In this context, since we are dealing with the FDA, if you look at their webpage, you will see the following sentence under the part of "organisation":

http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/default.htm

"FDA is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services."

The FDA, after being an agency/having the legal status with the mentioned act, was able to assume some liabilities, its powers were probably broadened, maybe gained some privileges, it was also faced by some sanctions, and so on. To be more specific, the legal status of the FDA is its status defined by law. To see all the details of this status, we should look at the U.S. law regarding the similar agencies.

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