History of the Division
The Chemical Division, also referred to as the Division of Chemistry, was created by law in 1889 and the first State Chemist was appointed by the Governor. It was reported that the State Chemist began with no laboratory, no apparatus, and no appropriation. He soon acquired a two-story red brick building, adjacent to the Capitol, which had been used for various purposes, including storage of firewood for the Capitol. This building was renovated and equipped for the laboratory and was opened on January 15, 1890.
In spite of difficulties in 1890, the State Chemist managed to analyze 165 samples of fertilizer and 12 miscellaneous samples. In 1893 an Assistant State Chemist was hired who was the Inspector of Fertilizer. From 1889 to 1905 the work of the laboratory was limited primarily to the analysis of fertilizer. Official samples of fertilizer were obtained by the State Chemist or his Assistant.
In 1905 the Florida Legislature enacted a Commercial Feeding Stuff Law and the State Chemist was designated to enforce this law. A "Pure Food Law" was passed in 1907 by Florida Legislature and the State Chemist was also designated to enforce this law. By 1908 the staff of the State Chemist included three Assistant State Chemists, a Food and Drug Chemist, a Feed Stuff Chemist, a Fertilizer Chemist, a Food and Drug Inspector and a Feed Stuff Inspector.
A Citrus Fruit Law was enacted and by 1916 the State Chemist had six part time citrus fruit inspectors.
In 1925 the Division of Inspection was created by the Legislature. This relieved the State Chemist of most inspection duties and allowed him to concentrate on the laboratory analysis of foods, feeds and fertilizer.
The 1927 Legislature, recognizing the need for specialization, changed the name and some of the responsibilities of the Division of Inspection. The Division became the Bureau of Inspection headed by an Administrator, the Supervising Inspector. Concurrent with the name change the then existing consumer protection laws were reviewed, and those considered functionally associated were assigned to the Bureau of Inspection for enforcement. These included food, drugs, feeds, fertilizer, gasoline, oil, citrus and frozen desserts. As time passed, the Florida Seed Law and the Florida Pesticide Law were also placed under the Bureau for enforcement.
In 1961 as a result of the comprehensive reorganization of the Department of Agriculture mandated by the 1959 Legislature, the Bureau again became the Division of Inspection. With this reorganization, the Road Guard Services became a section of the Division and the responsibility for regulating drugs was transferred to the State Board of Health. It has been said that the reorganization of the Department effected in 1961 as mandated by Chapter 570, was the first major reorganization of Florida State Government in 75 years. The Department was again reorganized in 1969. However, the resultant changes did not materially affect the responsibilities previously assigned to the Division of Inspection.
In 1992 the Department of Agriculture was again reorganized. With this reorganization the Division of Inspection and the Division of Chemistry were dissolved and the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services and the Division of Food Safety were created to house a new combination of programs. The Bureau of Food Grades and Standards was transferred to the Division of Food Safety and the Bureau of Road Guard was moved to the new Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement. The Pesticide Laboratory was transferred from the Division of Chemistry and merged with the Bureau of Pesticides which was also transferred from the Division of Inspection to the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services. The Bureau of Feed, Seed and Fertilizer Laboratories, Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control, Bureau of Feed, Seed and Fertilizer Inspection and Bureau of Soil and Water Conservation were transferred to the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services from the Division of Chemistry, the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, the Division of Inspection and Division of Administration, respectively.
In 1996 the Bureau of Soil and Water Conservation was transferred to the Office of Water Policy Coordination under the Commissioner's Office.
The Division is structured into four functional bureaus. Field Specialists in these bureaus are strategically located throughout the State so as to achieve maximum utilization of resources and to expeditiously respond to field problems or consumer complaints.
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