Revised from Food & Nutrition Magazine July/August 2016
Recent stories showcase imported olive oil labeled as "extra virgin" when it is actually a lower grade of olive oil, cheap variations of fish portrayed as pricier types and Parmesan cheese which contains high amounts of cellulose. These stories are leaving consumers in shock about the safety and quality of the foods they purchase. Michigan State University's Food Fraud Initiative defines food fraud as "deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, dilution, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, ingredients, packaging, or false and misleading statements about a product for economic gain. Although the economic impact is tough to calculate it is estimated by the Grocery Manufacturers Association that certain types of food and consumer product fraud cost the global food industry $10-15 billion annually. "The food industry is implementing more sophisticated and accurate methods to detect fraud, such as DNA testing and Genome Sequencing of fish to ensure authenticity" says John Spink.
Consumers can take steps to reduce their risk of being deceived:
- Be aware of common foods that fall under fraud. Visit foodfraud.org
- Use your food dollar at trusted retailers and small food stores that purchase local goods as they may take extra steps to ensure safe products arrive at their store.
- Be cautious of bargain prices on expensive foods such as saffron and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Purchase whole foods that are less processed.
- If you suspect fraud file a complaint at fda.gov/safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm
Our focus at True Wellness is to ensure safe food is delivered and to help folks answer the question, "Are you Truly Well"? Till next time stay tuned for more on time information and check out our new website for up to date resources on helping you live "healthier". TrueWellnessSA.com
-Matthew Molpus, Nutritionist at True Wellness