Not that I agree with the FDA on everything (ahem, GMOs), but we all know that when left to their own devices, industries usually put profits first and may not adequately police themselves or voluntarily maintain standards important to the public health and welfare. Hence why the government got involved in the first place.
By the way, there’s an excellent podcast about how and why the FDA began by Stuff You Missed in History Class. You can listen online or download it to your phone. As they explain, one hundred years ago there were no regulations on additives, no labeling requirements, and no food safety tests. With no oversight on the industry, sugar was cut with sand, flour was bleached, and even borax used as a food additive. It was a “Consumer Beware” culture when it came to purchasing and eating food.
In a recent September, 2016, FDA Consumer Update titled “What’s In a Name? What Every Consumer Should Know About Foods and Flavors”, Douglas Balentine, Director of the FDA’s Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, explains the FDA’s role thusly:
Yet another long-term effect on the kind of country we want to live in to consider when we go to the polls on election day.