The newest scam in the supermarket...
Common foods are nothing but frauds
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM PHONY BALONEY!
It’s like the old Folgers Crystals commercials, except instead of secretly replacing your fresh coffee with instant, some companies have done something not nearly so innocent.
They’ve secretly replaced some of your coffee with something that’s not even coffee at all——a cheap filler ingredient, such as worthless ground-up seeds.
And no one is about to jump out with a camera and ask if you can taste the difference. So instead of paying $8 a pound for coffee, you’re paying $8 a pound for coffee mixed with seeds——and that’s not the only scam going on in your supermarket.
Food fraud is on the rise, with deliberately mislabeled and adulterated foods showing up in nearly every aisle. In the last year alone, there were at least 800 documented new cases of food fraud, according to a report from the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention.
Olive oil is mixed with cheap vegetable oils. Expensive pomegranate juice is cut with cheaper ingredients like grape juice——and in at least one case, tests revealed that “100 percent pomegranate juice” didn’t contain a drop of actual pomegranate.
Here are a few tricks of the trade you need to watch out for:
SEAFOOD: Low-quality and downright dangerous fish are deliberately mislabeled and sold to unsuspecting consumers——and it happens all the time. In many cases, “white tuna” isn’t tuna at all, but a dangerous fish called escolar. Escolar is such a major source of food poisoning that it’s banned in many nations. Another potentially toxic fish, puffer fish, is often sold as monkfish. And high-mercury fish are often consistently mislabeled and sold as fish known for low mercury content.
HONEY: Chinese honey is a lot like its toys——contaminated with lead, drugs, and other garbage. It’s banned in the United States, but “honey laundering” (no, I’m not making this up) strips the honey of all the pollen that would identify its origin. Once stripped of pollen, the honey is sent to a third country such as India before being shipped off to fill plastic bears in the United States. In one survey, 76 percent of supermarket honey was pollen-free——a sure sign of “laundered” Chinese honey.
SPICES: Ground pepper is often mixed with flavorless ground up seeds. Paprika could be ground up who-knows-what that’s been dyed to look like the real thing. And similar tricks are pulled with nearly everything on the spice rack——especially saffron, turmeric, and chili powder.
LEMON JUICE: Fresh lemon juice looks cloudy——but the clouds in bottled juice don’t mean it’s fresh. Some companies dump chemical phthalates into their lemon juice to give it that cloudy “fresh-squeezed” look. But those phthalates are known endocrine disruptors linked to everything from diabetes and cancer to feminization and low sperm counts. Stick to real lemons, not plastic ones.
That’s just a partial list. The USP also found tainted milk, tea, shrimp, cooking oils, and more. If it’s sold in a package, you can bet someone is hard at work right now on mixing it with cheap, low-quality, ingredients.
I wish I could tell you there’s a surefire way to spot fraud in your food, but there isn’t. Obviously, avoid the dollar-store junk and don’t trust anything with a “MADE IN CHINA” label.
But even big brands will try to pull the wool over your eyes when they can. Remember that olive oil I mentioned earlier? In a chemical analysis conducted by UC Davis, even top-shelf brands were found to be adulterated with cheaper oils.
The best you can do is shop for fresh ingredients right from the source as much as possible. And when it’s not possible, look for whole foods. You can hide processed seeds in ground coffee or pepper. It’s a much tougher trick to pull off with whole beans and peppercorns.
And whatever you buy, do your homework. It shouldn’t be this hard to shop these days, but it is——so investigate brands and give your money to whoever deserves it, not whoever has the flashiest labels or the lowest prices.
p.s. Although food fraud is on the rise, the despicable practice of secretly adding unwanted ingredients to our food is, sadly, nothing new. For example, back in the 1940’s the poultry industry began dumping a poison-laced compound into chicken feed. This compound helped to kill of poultry parasites.
But it’s some of the side effects of the additive that likely have kept it a factory-farm staple for all these years: Faster growing chickens, and that rosy-pink color you’ve come to believe is the mark of a healthy chicken.
If you missed my November 2011 issue of The Douglass Report log in to my archives using your username and password below to get the rest of the bird-brained story.
And if you happen to be especially interested in the topic of hidden food dangers there’s a lot more where this came from. Back in April of 2010 I began warning my Daily Dose readers about nanoparticles showing up in their food, but NOT on their food labels. And in March of 2012 I warned readers about the dangers of food contamination and explained my simple two-step process for decontaminating produce. And in May of 2012 I revealed to concerned parents and grandparents the name of the common food additive with links to autism.
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