In a world without the FDA, food and drugs would come to market, and the marketplace would decide the best and worst. People right now put too much trust in FDA to protect them, and the list of recalls shows they really are not doing a good job. Factor in the rBST, GMO, etc. that the FDA allows in our food without labeling, and people should really think twice about the food they buy from the grocery store. Better customer awareness about the origin and composition of our food would take place in a free market. Not only that, but customers would be free to make informed choices about their food (organic v. non-organic, raw v. pasteurized) without government interference.
So where would the protection come from? Businesses would know they could not long get away with selling tainted or adulterated products without paying the price in lost sales or lawsuits. Currently the FDA provides some cover from lawsuits for harmful products, and the medical device manufacturers are looking to get even more. Currently there is a bill which would make it impossible to sue a medical device manufacturer for a bad product if the product was approved by the FDA, even if the product caused death. So, who is the FDA REALLY protecting?