Consumer Law at Your Fingertips

Food Safety & Labeling

Food Adulteration

Wisconsin statutes section 97.10 prohibits the sale of adulterated food (as defined in Wisconsin Statutes section 97.02). A food may be adulterated if, for example, any of the following apply:

  • It contains an added poisonous or deleterious substance that may make the food injurious to health, or that is not necessary for food production.
  • It contains enough of a poisonous or deleterious substance (added or not) to make the food normally injurious to health.
  • It contains any added substance that is considered “unsafe” under the federal food, drug and cosmetic act, or that is present at levels considered “unsafe” under the federal act. The federal Food and Drug Administration publishes a list of substances “generally recognized as safe” (the GRAS list), but a substance is not necessarily considered “unsafe” merely because it is not included on the GRAS list.
  • It contains any diseased, contaminated, filthy, putrid or decomposed substance or is otherwise unfit for food.
  • It has been produced, prepared, packed, or held under unsanitary conditions that may have caused it to become contaminated, diseased, unwholesome or injurious to health.
  • It is the product of a diseased animal, or an animal that died other than by slaughter.
  • Its packaging contains any poisonous or deleterious substance that may make the food injurious to health.
  • The seller misrepresents the food contents, directly or by implication.

DATCP may issue holding orders to stop the sale of adulterated food, or to prevent the sale of suspect food pending further testing. DATCP may also suspend licenses or initiate court enforcement proceedings against sellers of adulterated food. See Wisconsin Statutes section 93.06 and chapter 97.