Food fraud a problem for some high-end products

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Fancy food products such as sheep’s milk cheese and Sturgeon caviar that get a higher price at market because of their contents may not be the real deal, according to a Washington Post report about what’s being called ‘food fraud.’

Two New York City high school students, working in conjunction with scientists, tested 66 foods and found 11 did not contain what the label promised. For example, some samples of sheep’s milk cheese were made from cow’s milk and some Sturgeon caviar was sourced from the lowly Mississippi paddlefish, the newspaper reported!

Read more: 5 cheap options for organic food

Food fraud with wine, cheese, oil and more

In other famous examples of food fraud, manufacturers themselves have sometimes been scammed by suppliers. Winemaker E&J Gallo sold 18 million bottles of Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir (vintage 2006-2008) that were later discovered to have been made from cheaper merlot and syrah grapes in France. It’s been dubbed the ‘Pinotgate’ scam.

More recently, there was a 60 Minutes expose about olive oil that’s been getting a lot of attention. They allege a lot of the supposedly extra virgin olive oil coming from Italy is actually adulterated with lesser oils thanks to mafia influence!

If you want to be sure you’re buying the best in extra virgin olive oil, you can find any number of lists out there on the Internet. Here’s a link to just one.

Know what you buy

The FDA has long been charged with ensuring food contains what it promises, but the organization can’t keep up with the task in light of more pressing cases of dangerous food contamination. They’ve just trusted the marketplace not to lie.

My solution is either buy plain generic food that makes no promises about fancy ingredients or buy fresh and local so you can actually meet the grower or manufacturer.

Until the industry comes up with a self-regulating body like they have for herbals to ensure you get what you pay for, know that it may not be worth the extra money for the label with the fancy promises.

Read more: How to avoid fraud with herbal supplements

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