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Fraudulent Foods

by: Jill Richardson

Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:00:00 AM PST


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USA Today just ran a fascinating but scary article: Something Fishy? Counterfeit Foods Enter the U.S. Market. Maybe you didn't enjoy melamine with your last meal, but did you eat what you thought you were eating? It turns out a lot of foods masquerade as more expensive foods these days.

This isn't terribly surprising to me, given what I've heard about cheese with milk protein concentrate (that's a fancy sounding word to mean the remains of milk after anything valuable has been removed... it's cheap and that's why they use it) and at one point there was some noise about re-defining chocolate so you could replace cocoa butter with cheaper ingredients.

Here's USA Today's list:

  • Wild salmon: In a study, over half were actually farmed salmon.
  • Red snapper: Sorry, it's usually actually tilapia.
  • Olive oil: A percent of your oil may actually be a cheaper oil like soybean oil - or it might be olive oil, just a lower grade of it that is labeled and priced as extra virgin. (I recommend Temecula olive oil to make sure you're getting the real stuff)
  • Honey: You might be getting beet sugar instead
  • Maple syrup: This may be diluted with water or sugar
  • Vanilla: Might actually be vanillin
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Fraudulent Foods | 8 comments
More proof we're living (4.00 / 3)
in the second Gilded Age.

Anyway, wild salmon is really disappointing.  I thought that was one of the few fish I could still enjoy.  Is there any way to make sure we're getting the real thing (same for all the other foods)?

Vote for yourself at www.ni4d.us!


There is an unmistakable way of finding out if it's the real thing or not: (4.00 / 4)
when you cook wild salmon, the color of the flesh stays the same pink, with farmed salmon it loses its color: wild and farmed salmon fillets and steaks look similar because farmed fish are fed artificial coloring that makes them pink.  

Sic Transit Gloria Locavore!



[ Parent ]
i learn soooo much (4.00 / 4)
from you AAF! you're like a cornucopia of information....
thanks
♥~

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
These types of fraud (4.00 / 3)
have gotten so bad, I don't trust anything I buy at the store anymore. That's a terrible thing to say isn't it?

In addition to outright fraud and adulteration, there's the increasing problem of food laundering. For example, imports of a particular food, plant or animal isn't allowed into, say, England, from country A, but it is from country B. Country B allows the import of the item from country A. The product is less expensive from country A than domestic production in country B, so a supplier imports the item from country A into country B, relables it as a product of country B, then exports to England. This has gotten so bad over there that they've gone to isotope tracing to determine where some produce, meats and ag products actually came from.

They have problems with produce as well as meats. I've heard more about it in Europe than here, but with the recent flap over chinese honey being imported into the USA as a product of another country, I'm sure that there is just as much food laundering going on here as there is elsewhere.

I'm not a big fish person, but if I'm going to eat it, I'll go out and do the catching myself thank you very much. With beef and pork, I buy that locally from someone I know and trust. The goat meat, I'll be producing that myself, and the chicken, I know enough about the chicken industry that I have confidence that what I buy was grown locally, meaning I don't buy Tyson, Perdue, Kroger, etc., and this year I'll probably be doing my own chicken too, so probably no more of that from the store either. I'm in the process of transitioning to almost complete self production and local sourcing. E, very year I buy less and less from the store.

It's interesting when I think about how much I used to buy last year vs right now. I've learned to make my own pasta and bread, I put up a lot of produce last summer, so I'm not buying as much of that from the store. My meats I buy from the local slaughter house, so the stores don't get my money for that. Come to think of if, mostly what I buy right now are paper products, staples like flour and spices, catfood, beer and soda.

What I've learned of the commercial food system over the past few years has completely shot my confidence in it's safety and honesty.....

Normal people scare me. But not as much as I scare them.....


Hi, Joanne... (4.00 / 2)
I was just thinking that if I finally ever get around to figuring out home-brewing, I don't think I'd have to shop anywhere outside of the farmers markets ever again!

Can I ask you a quick question (or three, heh...) - relative to other states, is it any 'easier' here in Oregon to work towards self sufficiency in food production?  Do you ever have problems with agencies?  And are there any policies or ideas here that could be implemented across the country that might make the process easier for anybody who wanted to head towards that?


[ Parent ]
I have given up (4.00 / 3)
on salmon, farmed or otherwise, until we can get a handle on this problem. The Alaska and Pacific Coast salmon fisheries have collapsed. Natives who depend on wild salmon for subsistence will not have enough food if we continue to demand salmon. As for red snapper, it is an endangered fish at this point, so I don't eat it. When I did, I could tell the difference between that and tilapia two ways: red snapper has red mottling on the skin where the scales have been removed; and tilapia tastes like nursing home fish.

I guess with all of these potentially fraudulent foods, if you can't taste the difference between extra virgin olive oil and adulterated oil, between real honey and beet syrup, between maple syrup and watered down maple syrup or even vanilla and vanillin, you might want to give up being a foodie.

Hi to OC from dkos's crose!


hi!! (4.00 / 2)
good to see you over here. I like the handle... but really, you hate sprouts? Like brussel sprouts? Or alfalfa or bean sprouts? I like all 3!

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Fraudulent Foods | 8 comments
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