Hermeneutics of Food and Drug Regulatory Policy

Keywords: philosophy of food, philosophy of medicine, hermeneutics, ontology, regulatory policy, food and drugs


In this paper, I examine the philosophical foundations of the regulation of edible things with particular emphasis on interpretations of the ontological relationship between the categories of 'food' and 'drugs.' To illustrate the diversity of possible approaches to the regulation of food and drugs and their correlative ontological commitments, I focus on two different examples: the United States Food and Drug Administration's Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and the development of India's Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH). In my examination of these two regulatory bodies, my goal is not to provide a universal or absolute answer as to how the food-drug relationship ought to be interpreted or codified within regulatory policy. Rather, I aim to provide support for the following claims: (1) these regulatory policies are undergirded by philosophical assumptions regarding the ontological relationship between the categories of food and drugs, (2) the regulatory structure of the US Food & Drug Administration rests on a dichotomous interpretation of the food-drug relationship, (3) India's Ministry of AYUSH rests on an interpretation of the food-drug relationship that understands the categories of 'food' and 'drugs' as overlapping with one another, and (4) each of these approaches to the regulation of edible things has unique advantages and disadvantages that ought to be recognized and evaluated in developing and revising policy for the regulation of edible things.

Author Biography

Joseph A. Tuminello, III, McNeese State University

Joseph Tuminello is an assistant professor of philosophy at McNeese State University.

How to Cite
Tuminello, J. (2020). Hermeneutics of Food and Drug Regulatory Policy. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 13(38), 255-280. Retrieved from http://www.humanamente.eu/index.php/HM/article/view/329