Healthy Eating: Food Additives
7 Most Fraudulent Foods
Do you really know what’s in your go-to olive oil? And what about that favorite coffee blend? You may be scratching your head. “Um, olives and, well, coffee beans, obviously.” Not so fast. Foods we eat every day are packed with things that aren’t supposed to be there—a practice known as “food fraud”—according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Science. (Search: The worst food additives) In order to reduce costs, unscrupulous companies illegally cut a primary ingredient with something less expensive. And the top seven most frequently adulterated foods are things many of us eat every single day.
We do so unwittingly because the impostor ingredients are very hard—if not impossible—for the consumer (that would be you) to detect. “That’s the real challenge for the experts and agencies to detect food fraud: Consumers don’t often notice a quality problem, and the contaminants are unconventional,” says Michigan State University’s John Spink, PhD, associate director of their Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection Program and one of the authors of the study. They’re not typically found in food products, so most of the adulterants go unnoticed. And though adulterants are usually not dangerous, they can be – like when dog food laced with melamine started killing dogs. (Video: The 10 Scariest Food Additives)
But don’t panic yet. “The prevalence of food fraud is ultimately very low,” Spink says. Spink’s tips for steering clear of food fraud? Find a retailer you trust to stock healthy, safe products, and if you get sick, report any food poisoning immediately to your county board of health. Now read on for the 7 most fraudulent foods.
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