Food for Thought: What exactly is “food fraud”?

Health

(WWLP) – Have you ever heard the term “food fraud”? It refers to manufacturers deliberately replacing ingredients in your food with a cheaper substitute.

This topic created a lot of buzz at the 2017 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. We think we are eating one food but it is diluted with another so manufacturers save money.

This is especially a health concern for people who have allergies. One of the most common fraudulent foods is spices. Your oregano, basil, and dill could be watered down with olive leaves or ground peanuts, which are a common food allergen.

Here are other foods that are likely to have fake ingredients:

  • Coffee can be diluted with cheaper beans or colored sawdust.
  • Honey and maple syrup can be filled with corn syrup.
  • A recent study found one in five pieces of seafood has been mislabeled.
  • Some olive oils can be filled with other cheaper oils like sunflower and canola oil.
  • Fruit juices — especially pomegranate, orange, and apple juice — are watered down, colored and sweetened.

Government agencies are doing DNA tests to detect mislabeled foods. With this testing, we can hope that in the future what we see on the label is really in our food more often.

Food manufacturers are fined when food fraud is found. If you really want to stay on top of food fraud, you can subscribe to the USP Food Fraud Database.

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