Not Consuming The Foods You Think

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We Are Victims of Food Fraud

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Does the headline surprise you? Perhaps I sound like an alarmist. Consider this: Have you ever wondered why a fruit juice can remain on the shelf with “refrigerate after opening” on the label? Have you seen a package that claims, “natural and artificial flavors” but elsewhere states “contains 0% juice”? What about the baffling asterisk after 100% real juice on some bottles of your grocery shelves? Still seems circumstantial? Your lack of credulity is noted.

On the United States Pharmacopeial Convention website, FoodFraud.org, there is a vast searchable database of scholarly articles revealing foods that deceptively list their ingredients. The duplicity may be as simple as replacing grapefruit juice for orange juice and touting “all natural flavors” on the label. More elaborate subterfuge involves substitutes created by high-paid flavorologists, or omitting the mention of additives. Note one excerpt from an abstract by David I. Ellis, et al. in "Fingerprinting food: current technologies for the detection of food adulteration and contamination,” 2012:

⚠️ “Major food adulteration and contamination events seem to occur with some regularity, such as the widely publicised adulteration of [powdered] milk products with melamine and the recent microbial contamination of vegetables across Europe for example.”

Researchers found that olive oil (even the extra-virgin kind) is the most adulterated food. (No pun intended.) In order to reduce costs, unscrupulous companies illegally cut a primary ingredient with something less expensive.

Most Adulterated Foods
ProductReplacement(s)
OLIVE OILhazelnut, corn oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, palm oil, walnut oil
MILKreconstituted milk powder, urea, rennet
MAPLE SYRUP (artificial)sugar syrup, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, beet sugar
HONEY
SAFFRONglycerin, sandalwood dust, tartrazine, barium sulfate, borax
ORANGE JUICElemon juice, mandarin juice, grapefruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, paprika extract, beet sugar
INSTANT COFFEEchicory, cereals, caramel, parchment, starch, malt, figs
TEAleaves from other plants, color additives, colored saw dust
CLOUDING AGENTSmost common is plasticizer Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)*
*The US Pharmacopeial Convention found 877 food products from 315 companies with fake clouding agents.

What I am about to say will gross you out. Perhaps manufacturers reason that there are worst things allowed in your food than extraneous leaves or a fruit substitute. The FDA says, “It is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects.”

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