Adulterated food is food that is generally, impure, unsafe, or unwholesome. The main federal laws governing adulterated foods are the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. These laws contain separate language defining in very specific terms how the term "adulterated" will be applied to the foods each of these laws regulates. Products that are adulterated under these laws’ definitions cannot enter into commerce for human food use. Under U.S. law, using an ingredient not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one form of food adulteration. State statutes may also regulate adulterated food produced or sold in the state. The selling of adulterated food is subject to civil penalties.
The following is an example of a state statute defining adulterated
"(a) Food is adulterated if
(b) Food is adulterated if
(c) Confectionery is adulterated if it bears or contains an alcohol or nonnutritive article or substance except harmless coloring, harmless flavoring, harmless resinous glaze not in excess of four-tenths of one per cent, harmless natural wax not in excess of four-tenths of one per cent, harmless natural gum, and pectin. This subsection does not apply to confectionery containing less than one-half of one per cent by volume of alcohol derived solely from the use of flavoring extracts, or to chewing gum containing harmless nonnutritive masticatory substances.
(d) Food is adulterated if it bears or contains a coal tar color other than one from a batch which has been certified under authority of the federal act."