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Food Fraud in the Supermarket

Updated on February 15, 2013

Ever wonder how safe your food is at the grocery? Millions of people buy food at the lowest prices. But people are deceived by the food that they buy in restaurants and groceries. Believe it or not, sushi bars often serve fake fish to their customers. This article will serve as a wake-up call to all consumers who are not getting value for their buck. This piece will tell you if the food that you're buying is the real thing or if it is a Trojan horse.

I was watching the Dr. Oz Show the other day and their topic is food fraud. Shaun Kennedy, Director of National Center for Food Protection and Defense explained that the food that we buy is not what it appears to be. They sell fake items to make money. The most common fraudulent item is fish.

Beth Lowell, Campaign Director of Oceana mentioned that 38% of fish are mislabeled. The most common varieties of fish that people in the grocery usually sell are cod, wild salmon, grouper, and red snapper. One example is the escolar. Most people call it snake mackerel. It has toxins and can cause diarrhea. This fish is banned in Italy and Japan. When restaurants serve super white tuna, they actually serve escolar. Lowell cautioned the viewers to avoid ordering this item. Another casualty is the red snapper. Most people call this a tile fish because it's dangerous and contains mercury. Lowell advised the consumers to buy the fish whole and cut into fillets to avoid food fraud.

Another item that usually deceives customers is extra virgin olive oil. Kennedy mentioned that 70% of olive oil is fake. The real olive oil is made of crushed olives. They conducted tests on different brands of extra virgin olive oil and they found out that 65% of the extra virgin olive oil did not meet the standards of having the authentic olive oil. Most bottles of extra virgin olive oil have food coloring and they mostly contain hazelnut oil or sunflower oil. Kennedy explained that selling fake olive oil makes more money. Kennedy and Dr. Oz told viewers about how not to pick an adulterated olive oil. First, look for dark glass bottles. Real olive oil is stored in these types of bottles. Second, look for the harvest date. Buy the olive oil within 15 months of harvest date. Third, look for the seal. Look for the orchard where the olives were harvested from and check for the production site. Fourth, Put the olive oil in the freezer. If it freezes, then it's real. If it doesn't, then it's fake.

One of the most common victims of food fraud is lemon juice. According to Kennedy, some manufacturers add 20% water into the lemon juice making it hard for people to tell the difference. Dr. Oz conducted a test to see if the lemon juice is the real thing. They had a glass of water mixed with baking soda. When they poured the lemon juice into the mixture, nothing happened. No bubbles were formed so that means it is real. The second experiment showed a different result. When the lemon juice was poured into the water and baking soda mixture, bubbles exploded. It means it has a high acid content, therefore, it is fake. Dr. Oz advised viewers to buy freshly squeezed lemon juice. People are certain that what they're getting is pure lemon juice. Squeeze some contents and put it in the ice box and freeze it to restore the taste. You can have your lemons stored in case you want to make your own lemonade.

Things aren't always what they seem. As a consumer, it is important to buy fresh produce for our own health and safety. We should be cautious of the food we buy and eat so that we can get our money's worth.


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    • profile image

      moli 4 years ago

      thanks for reading it

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Such important information. Voted Up and Interesting.