I'm sure that the "Adulteration" term is even more puzzling to "foreigners" than it is to Americans. But both the FDA and the USDA were originally interested in protecting the consumer from drugs and agricultural products that were not what they appeared to be or that were not what the label described. The USDA is still very interested in keeping the amount of additive in an agricultural product small enough that the consumer is really getting ground beef when it says ground beef and not ground corn with a little beef. They take that just as seriously as the inspection of meat. The FDA (who began with activities through the Patent Office) started worrying about agricultural products and medicines that had been adulterated or mislabeled. Food Safety was not a discipline back then. Now the FDA worries about safety, but the old terms stuck.
The interactions between the Federal and State governments in the U.S. are probably unique in the world. We play nicely together, and the Feds are the Big Boys, but the states take care of their turf and are Top Dog there. We squabble in Washington D.C., and smile at each other everywhere else. Separation of Powers works for us, lol.
Just like the EC countries, imports have to abide by U.S. law. The FDA is spread very thin, so when unscrupulous people in other countries (or here) try to get away with something, it is hard to catch every one. Just as it works for recalls, the FDA depends on importers and just plain citizens to blow the whistle on problems. That's why companies voluntarily issue the recalls and there is no stigma attached, they were doing their job.
That feeling that everyone is responsible for the common good here is part of the source of that separation of powers, that everyone has to contribute to the safety of the country as a civic duty. Unfortunately, these days people don't seem to want to "get involved" in pulling their share, and bad guys get away with more. I'm hoping that the pendulum swings more in the other direction. We would see less crime, less people hungry, and less terrorist attacks succeed if the people started getting involved again.
Sorry for the rambling, but we were talking about how the different countries treated food safety differently, and Charles brought up the "A" term, so it just flowed.
Thanks for reading to the end.
"...everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Viktor E. Frankl
"Life's like a movie, write your own ending." The Muppets