The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below, as well as others
reached through the links on the right, cover basic and timely
information and guidance for those interested in the many products
FDA regulates and other agency responsibilities. Answers usually
include further links to in-depth information included throughout
FDA's Web site, as well as on the sites of other government
If you can't find the answer to a question here, try one of
the following options:
- Search the FDA Website.
- Check out the FDA Website
- Refer to the site map.
- Go to Information for Consumers for
more consumer-oriented materials or to learn how to contact
the agency directly.
FDA ensures that the food we
eat is safe and wholesome, that the cosmetics we
use won't harm us, and that medicines, medical
devices, and radiation-emitting consumer
products such as microwave ovens are safe and effective. FDA also oversees feed
and drugs for pets and farm animals. Authorized by Congress to enforce
the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic
Act and several other public health laws,
the agency monitors the manufacture, import, transport, storage, and sale
of $1 trillion worth of goods annually, at a cost to taxpayers of about $3
a person. More about FDA.
If you have a recalled medical product, talk to your health
professional about the best course of action. For other products,
take it back to the place of purchase and ask for a refund.
Stores generally have a return and refund policy when a company
has announced a recall of its products.
Products found to be unfit for consumers are withdrawn
from the marketplace, either by voluntary recall or by court-ordered
seizure. These products usually are destroyed, or in some cases,
they are reconditioned to be in compliance with FDA regulations.
For general food safety questions, call the FDA Food Safety
Hotline at 1-888-723-3366. If the situation is critical, phone
FDA's emergency number, 301-443-1240, which is staffed
24 hours a day. If your questions involve meat or
poultry products, call the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's hotline at 800-535-4555. More
on food safety can be found at www.foodsafety.gov.
The Environmental Protection
the sale and use of pesticides. But FDA regularly tests foods to determine
if pesticides are present in unacceptable amounts. If elevated levels are
found, FDA takes corrective action.
Controlling the illegal use of "street" drugs such as heroin,
cocaine and marijuana is the job of the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA). However, if a street drug were to be studied for
legitimate medical uses, FDA would regulate it as an investigational drug.
FDA-regulated prescription drugs such as barbiturates and amphetamines are
sometimes abused and wind up as street drugs. These cases then fall into DEA's
Contact your doctor right away and urge him or her to
report the problem to the FDA MedWatch hotline, 800-FDA-1088
or online at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch.
Your doctor, however, is not required to report to FDA. Therefore,
consumers can report problems directly. For more information,
visit the MedWatch Website.
In general, any citizen can submit
comments on rules FDA proposes. The agency announces rules in the Federal
Register and usually accepts comments for 60 days. The Federal Register is
available in many libraries or on FDA's
Website. FDA urges consumers to participate in the rulemaking process.
FOIA requests are best made by sending a letter specifying
exactly what material you seek to FDA, Freedom of Information
Staff (HFI-35), 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857. For
more on FOIA requests, call 301-827-6567 or go to the Handbook
for Requesting Information and Records from FDA.
Contact the FDA Office of the Chief Mediator and Ombudsman,
301-827-3390. If the complaint concerns human drugs, contact the Center for
Drug Evaluation and Research's ombudsman at 301-594-5443;
for biologics, 301-827-2000; for veterinary
drugs, (240) 276-9015.
should I contact if I am interested in a job at the FDA?
See Working at FDA for information on current
vacancies, employment benefits, and career descriptions. Additionally, the
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has a site to obtain "Applications
for Federal Employment". To contact the FDA on personnel issues send correspondence
Division of Human Resources Management
5600 Fishers Lane
Room 7B-43, Mail Code HFA-415
Rockville, MD 20857
I contact the FDA?
If you want to communicate your comments, questions or suggestions to FDA,
please start with our "Contact FDA" page.