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The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in 1906 during the Progressive Era. It was one of a few laws designed to protect people, specifically consumers, from the abuses of businesses.
Some businesses were known for trying to make money by using methods that were deceptive and/or dishonest. One of these practices was to falsely label food and medicines. By doing this, a business could say a food was of a higher quality than it really was. Then the business could charge a higher price for that item. It would be difficult for a consumer to realize he or she had been misled. The same practice was used with medicine. By falsely labeling medicine, businesses could sell them at higher prices.
The Pure Food and Drug Act made it illegal to falsely label food items and medicines and to sell these falsely labeled items. This law was passed to protect consumers from unfair business activities.
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