MMEA Lecture Series

The Rise (and Fall) of the Food-Drug Line: Classification, Gatekeepers, and Spatial Mediation in Food and Health Markets

2019-11-12 16:30:002019-11-12 18:00:00Asia/Hong_KongThe Rise (and Fall) of the Food-Drug Line: Classification, Gatekeepers, and Spatial Mediation in Food and Health Markets

DATE: November 12, 2019

TIME: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm(UTC+08:00)

VENUE:Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong

SPEAKER: Dr. Xaq Frohlich

ABSTRACT: This talk explores the history of the “food-drug line” in product regulation: the classification boundary developed by public health regulators and medical professional associations in the twentieth century to demarcate health products, with stricter safety standards, from food and dietary products usually governed by more lax, informal marketing standards. The talk will outline the American Medical Association (AMA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 100+-year history of using product classification to allot risk decision-making in food and drug markets, linking these practices to regulators’ ideas about “gatekeeper theory,” the belief that access to risky products like drugs should be mediated by expert gatekeepers such as medical doctors. It will then focus on the debates over food and drug labeling in the 1960s prompted by several new health food trends: 1) vitamania and industry use of vitamin-enrichment, 2) artificial sweeteners and “low-cal” foods, and 3) the “cholesterol controversy” that fueled broad interest in low-fat foods and preventive medicine. Marketing campaigns in these health foods transgressed the classification barrier the FDA and AMA sought to build between food and drug, at a time when they were trying to develop clear guidelines on prescription drugs in the wake of the thalidomide scandal. The talk concludes by historically situating the food-drug line, its rise and fall over the course of the twentieth-century, as a unique conceptual deviation from traditional health markets, including Eastern and alternative medicine, where diet is a central part of one’s health regimen. This history will be used to reconsider present-day concerns with regulating functional foods and alternative medicines, and new trends in modern health markets that blur or breakdown simple categories of what is a food, intended to nourish, and what is a drug, intended to cure.

ENQUIRY: (852)3917 5007/mmea@hku.hk

    2019-11-12 16:30:002019-11-12 18:00:00Asia/Hong_KongThe Rise (and Fall) of the Food-Drug Line: Classification, Gatekeepers, and Spatial Mediation in Food and Health Markets

    DATE: November 12, 2019

    TIME: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm(UTC+08:00)

    VENUE:Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong

    SPEAKER: Dr. Xaq Frohlich

    ABSTRACT: This talk explores the history of the “food-drug line” in product regulation: the classification boundary developed by public health regulators and medical professional associations in the twentieth century to demarcate health products, with stricter safety standards, from food and dietary products usually governed by more lax, informal marketing standards. The talk will outline the American Medical Association (AMA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 100+-year history of using product classification to allot risk decision-making in food and drug markets, linking these practices to regulators’ ideas about “gatekeeper theory,” the belief that access to risky products like drugs should be mediated by expert gatekeepers such as medical doctors. It will then focus on the debates over food and drug labeling in the 1960s prompted by several new health food trends: 1) vitamania and industry use of vitamin-enrichment, 2) artificial sweeteners and “low-cal” foods, and 3) the “cholesterol controversy” that fueled broad interest in low-fat foods and preventive medicine. Marketing campaigns in these health foods transgressed the classification barrier the FDA and AMA sought to build between food and drug, at a time when they were trying to develop clear guidelines on prescription drugs in the wake of the thalidomide scandal. The talk concludes by historically situating the food-drug line, its rise and fall over the course of the twentieth-century, as a unique conceptual deviation from traditional health markets, including Eastern and alternative medicine, where diet is a central part of one’s health regimen. This history will be used to reconsider present-day concerns with regulating functional foods and alternative medicines, and new trends in modern health markets that blur or breakdown simple categories of what is a food, intended to nourish, and what is a drug, intended to cure.

    ENQUIRY: (852)3917 5007/mmea@hku.hk

      Overview

      Title:

      The Rise (and Fall) of the Food-Drug Line: Classification, Gatekeepers, and Spatial Mediation in Food and Health Markets

      Speakers:

      Dr. Xaq Frohlich (Assistant Professor, Department of History, Auburn University)

      Date:

      November 12, 2019

      Time:

      4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

      Venue:

      Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong (Map)

      Language:

      English

      Enquiry:

      (Tel) (852) 3917-5007
      (Email) mmea@hku.hk

      Title:

      The Rise (and Fall) of the Food-Drug Line: Classification, Gatekeepers, and Spatial Mediation in Food and Health Markets

      Speakers:

      Dr. Xaq Frohlich (Assistant Professor, Department of History, Auburn University)

      Date:

      November 12, 2019

      Time:

      4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

      Venue:

      Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong (Map)

      Language:

      English

      Enquiry:

      (Tel) (852) 3917-5007
      (Email) mmea@hku.hk

      Organizer

      This is an event organized by the CRF Project “Making Modernity in East Asia: Technologies of Everyday Life, 19th – 21st Centuries” (RGC CRF HKU C7011-16G).

      POSTER