Adulterated food

February 26, 2012, 5:42 pm
Source: USDA
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Source: USDA.

What is Adulterated Food?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) defines Adulterated Food as:

Generally, food of an impure, unsafe, or unwholesome nature; however, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act contain separate language defining in very specific (and lengthy) terms how the term “adulterated” will be applied to the foods each of these laws regulates. Products found to be adulterated under these laws cannot enter into commerce for human food use.

FDA on Adulterated Food

"It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
—Abraham Lincoln

When it comes to fraudulent food in the marketplace, Lincoln's sage observation has certainly rung true. In the Food and Drug Administration's experience, when hucksters try to cheat Americans out of millions of dollars of genuine foods, their schemes are ultimately exposed—by a sharp-eyed consumer, a competitive industry, or FDA itself.

Further Reading

  • Kurtzweil, Paula. Fake Food Fight. FDA Consumer magazine March-April 1999.


(2012). Adulterated food. Retrieved from


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