There are evil, evil people afoot — and they're trying to get you to buy food frauds!
People can normally tell fish from other fish… when they're whole. But how often could you pick out specific fish when they're just cuts? It turns out that this category makes up 9% of fraud — and it goes beyond mislabeling.
You can have farmed fish toted as wild. You can have species of fish labeled at others: A new study even included a "grouper" sample that was really tilefish, a species that contains enough mercury to make the FDA's list of foods that pregnant women and young children should avoid. Scallops, too, might actually be punched out circles from a whitefish fillet!
Buy whole if you don't want to be duped!
Accounting for a whopping 16% of the fraud found, this was the worst offender!
Most of the cases are about the consumer getting scammed into a bad deal. Take for instance regular olive oil instead of pricier extra virgin, or a less expensive variety from Greece instead of Italy as the label totes.
In rare cases, though, shizz can get dangerous: varieties of non-food-grade oil may be added in, posing a health risk. Like the 600+ people in Spain that died in 1981 after eating "olive oil" that was actually a non-food-grade rapeseed oil intended as an industrial lubricant!
Stick to the brands you know!
Don't be messin' with our milk!
The worst offenders are watered down and then laced with melamine, which increases the protein content to hide the dilution. Milk makes up about 14% of the offenders!
Keep an eye out and stick to well-known brands!
Oh honey, don't you dare be fooling us with honey!
7% of food fraud involves honey!
As it turns out, 75% of honey in stores doesn't contain pollen — which has been filtered out for dubious reasons — so the honey can't be traced back to specific regions. This also means that regulators don't even recognize the product as honey!
The best thing you can do is buy from a local bee-keeper!
We could have called this one — no surprise here!
Orange juice comes in at 4%, and apple sails in at 2% of the fraud!
Turns out you're probably getting more water than anything… and more expensive juices might be being cut with apple juice! Shame!
You would think there'd be laws against messing with baby formula!
It's actually not one of the top top ones on the list, but it's one of the most common for organized retail theft — cans of which often get tampered with. Especially the sell-by codes. Which means it could be an expired product.
All that stupid adulterated milk we talked about earlier could be making it into the formula as well!
Buy from major retailers!
This one is sneaky — spices are used in such small quantities that people rarely notice they're being conned!
Saffron represents 5% of food fraud cases and vanilla extract, 2%. Turmeric, star anise, paprika and chili powder each account for another 1%.
A waste of money can come from the spices that are made from already processed extracts, while spices like Chinese star anise might be substituted with Japanese star anise… which is toxic!
Beware of bulk bins and buy from brands you know!
You HAVE to watch out for counterfeit booze! Spirits and other kinds of liquid courage are pegged about 2% of the fraud — usually using cheaper vintage. Adulterated ones, however, are more dangerous.
Some tampered-with vodkas have been found to contain anti-freeze and other dangerous chemicals… so make sure you're looking for labels that don't look quite right!
Always be vigilant, dear readers! If not for your health, then for your wallet!
And SHAME on those people scamming others! Where are your morals??
[Image via AP Images.]