Conscious Eating: Don’t Be Fooled By These 11 Food Frauds

Written by on August 28, 2017 in Hazards, Issues & Diseases, Health with 0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Gabrielle Van Tassel | Extra Crispy

In my effort to eat healthier and more ethically, I tend to gravitate towards foods that are organic, non-GMO, and locally grown—hence the $8 eggs I accidentally bought last week. Have you ever stopped to wonder what those phrases and certifications on food labels actually mean? Remember when Naked got in trouble for falsely advertising their juice as containing quality, healthful ingredients? And when we found out the truth behind food labels like cage-free, antibiotic-free, and certified organic? These are examples of food fraud.

Food fraud is not just when companies fraudulently market their products as something they’re not. Dr. John Spink of Michigan State University’s Food Fraud Initiative defines food fraud as “a collective term used to encompass the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product, for economic gain.” No matter how you spin it, food fraud is shady business.


But without a subscription to The United States Pharmacopeial Convention food fraud database, how do you protect yourself against food fraud? The answer is, well, it’s hard. There are thousands of ingredients and food fraud records in the database. To help you out, I put together a fairly short list of common foods that you should always keep an eye on.

The most dangerous example of food counterfeiting is olive oil. Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is the healthiest oil we can eat. However, the hard truth is that according to a study conducted by the UC Davis Olive Center, only 69 percent of bottles labeled “extra virgin” are actually extra virgin. The harder truth is that manufacturers can cut it with vegetable, soybean, and sometimes a nut oil. That poses a severe health risk for some people with allergies.

Fish is another big source of food fraud. Oceana.org found that 39 percent of seafood in NYC alone was mislabeled. A lot of fancy fish you’re buying could actually be a cheap, bottom-feeding substitute like Escolar instead of Tuna steak. The danger is that Escolar contains indigestible esters that can cause food poisoning and other shitty side effects (pun intended).

As for ground meat, you might be getting a mystery animal in your marked package. Remember the horse meat scandal in England? Lucky for the US, meat substitution is not as common here.

Another upsetting one is milk. Never use powdered milk, especially if it’s from China. Worse than drinking a mix of various livestock milk (as in, not just cow), some powdered kinds of milk can contain chemicals like melamine, urea, and detergent.

Far less terrifying is the wide-spread fruit juice fraud. Beyond various companies claiming unproven health benefits on the labels, a lot of juice companies will claim the product is “100 percent juice.” The trouble is, that bottle of juice is probably 100 percent juice, but it’s not straight grapefruit, pomegranate, orange, or what have you. It’s probably cut with something cheap and sugary, like apple juice. Some juices even contain clouding agents to make them look “fresh squeezed.” No thanks.

You probably already knew about honey and food fraud, but it’s one of the worst offenders. Those plastic bears are loaded with additives like high fructose corn syrup, so just stick to your local apiaries.

Coffee is another common one because it’s easy to hide other brown things, like twigs, in coffee grounds. Ever wonder why your pre-ground coffee has a particularly earthy taste? Do yourself a favor and buy whole beans.

Ground black pepper is another easy way to dupe consumers, so buy whole peppercorns and a grinder and do it yourself. Freshly ground pepper tastes better anyways.

The next thing you should be scrutinizing is your vanilla extract. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice, so it’s not surprising that the extract is made up of vanillin instead. While vanillin is a naturally occurring compound, most commercially sold bottles of extract synthesize it in a lab for cheap.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS FeedConnect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the stories on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to friend