questionsare you a victim of food fraud?

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I'm not concerned. I'm pretty sure this only applies to people who pay a premium for trendy labels on their food. I don't think there's much chance the store brand food I'm buying is counterfeit.

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Not sure this constitutes as a fraud, but I heard an interesting piece on imitation calamari.
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/484/doppelgangers

You guys really don't want to know what they use. I'll give you enough of a hint to say that it ain't rubber bands.

I'm pretty sure the olive oil we use at the house isn't pure olive olive no matter what it says on the tin.

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@lavikinga: olive olive? Dang. I need more coffee.

Decided to check out websites concerning olive oil and fraud. Looks like most of us who are not buying our oils from local growers, but are trusting the major brands, are getting hosed--about 70% of imported olive oil is supposedly not what it is purported to be. It's either mixed with a lesser quality olive oil or completely bastardized with canola or soybean oils. This can be especially problematic if one isn't supposed to have soy products.

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@samstag: Au contraire. The guy with the lowest profit margin feels the pressure to cut corners the most.

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Sadly, it is just as likely, perhaps more likely, that the store brand is not what you think. The store isn't making it, after all. There are a few makers that specialize in those store brands, and the rate of recalls of some of those items isn't pleasant. "Organic" foods are one of the worst items on that list, but the list is truly endless. I never EVER buy store brands.

I used to, back in the long ago times, when you could actually get an honest answer on who the maker actually was, and where they were located. Sears used to sell repackaged Tide, and Kenmore washers and dryers were made by Whirlpool (back when both those brands were respectable).

I'm very careful about meat, and dry goods (flour, sugar, etc). I grow most of the vegetables I eat, and can them for the winter. I buy fruit at the Farmer's Markets from local growers (and even there, you need to be cautious).

It's a crazy world, and I'm cynical and untrusting.

It is what it is. So it goes.

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@lavikinga: by the end of the episode they never find any proof that anybody has substituted those for calamari. At the time i was listening to it and the writer started saying, 'im actually cheering for it to be calamari, this underdog of food' i realized the story was just going to be for entertainment.

...And then the horse meat story broke in England.

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@lavikinga: That is a seriously disturbing use of the word "rectum."

I sincerely hope my EVOO isn't fake, because a big part of the reason for the switch is to get away from soy oil blends.

On the horse meat thing - why are so many people freaking out about this? Is it because we like horses? Since they're beautiful and useful we don't eat them? I don't have a particular urge to, but I am curious.

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"Old-fashioned" (non-hydrogenated) peanut butter is on the shelf that contains no peanut oil. The peanut oil had been sold at a profit, and a cheaper and less healthy oil put added. At least the ingredient list was honest.

Meats: normal to inject everything -meat, fowl, fish - with water, increase weight. This is legal?

Sugar, wheat, water, and other fillers are added to all sorts of things to make them weigh more at low cost.

I assume most "wasabi" consumed in the US is really horseradish, a close relative. I have heard some varieties of horseradish are developed to mimic wasabi exactly. Horseradish is great, but I have a problem with a product called wasabi containing horseradish instead.

Although this sort of problem gets attention here over products like olive oil, wasabi, calamari, etc, I believe the larger problem of false labeling and food fraud is likely in the house brands and inexpensive foods sold in bulk. I suspect many of those products ate not what they seem.

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@lavikinga: checks out the article Umm...I'd rather have the rubber bands.

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@thumperchick: It's part of our contract with the animal kingdom: If you serve us in other ways we promise not to eat you. I think there's also a factor that horses (and dogs) are more intelligent and lead more complex internal lives than the animals we eat (except pigs). Similar to why most Americans feel eating dolphins and whales is wrong. It's a first world luxury and on the face of it doesn't make much sense in a world where many people face nutritional shortfalls. But if horse (or dog) meat were broadly accepted, like everything in the US it would become a matter of mass production. There would be huge agro-businesses with horses (or dogs) raised commercially for meat in the same sort of ugly conditions and biological "maximizing" that most meat animals are raised and butchered in. I've been horse crazy since the cradle and like dogs a lot better than humans, so I am very glad that we don't accept these animals as meat sources in the US.

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@shrdlu: I never EVER buy store brands.

I've worked in 2 food producing factories and you want to know the difference between labels? The label. We stop the line, swap out the label and start the line again. That goes for canned veggies, snack foods (not Lays products they only produce their own product), frozen veggies.

It's all the same inside the can. Some have different formulas, mostly stuff like Baked Beans where they use less tomato paste than the expensive brand but that's the only difference.

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@moondrake: That sounds reasonable to me. Pigs get hosed because they taste too good for their own good.

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@lavikinga: A friend and I watched the video of this a few weeks ago, then went to Costco. There was bulk calamari, but NO tentacles. I gave out a loud, nervous laugh and moved away from it. Quickly.

I swear it could have been this, well at least, looked like this:

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@thumperchick: Because of issues with my thyroid, my internist advised me years ago to avoid soy products. Once I began reading labels, I realized it is in sooo many items, as are wheat, corn, & corn syrup, all things I am trying to avoid.

I suppose I should look at the imitation calamari along the same lines as natural casings for sausages, etc. But. I. Can't.

I will admit while on a trip to Africa I ate zebra. Spent the entire meal thinking "oh, dear lord, I am eating a carousel animal! A carousel animal!" And then they served the giraffe!

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@lavikinga: you just got a genuine chuckle out of me. Thanks for that.

We avoid wheat, soy, corn syrup, etc. And now, thanks to this thread, I've searched for a new source of olive oil and found a local store that may help point me in a better direction. We've already switched most of our buying habits - local smokehouse for meat, they carry dairy and eggs from other local farms that are reputable, farmer's market for veggies, etc. And you know what? The meat/poultry prices aren't bad at all.

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@zapp brannigan: So why don't you buy store brands? If you know for a fact they are the same stuff as the name brands, why not get the cheaper label?

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@thumperchick: Look toward California olive growers for the real deal. And yes, it'll cost a bit more. We use coconut oil frequently.

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@lavikinga: "I will admit while on a trip to Africa I ate zebra. Spent the entire meal thinking "oh, dear lord, I am eating a carousel animal! A carousel animal!" And then they served the giraffe!"

I would so love to have this story as my own. Well, except for the actual eating of the carousel animals!

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I get my squid from the Mon, they have the best calamari.
Everything else is a trap.

j5 j5
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@rlapid2112: HOW the heck did you get into my head like that?
I lost 12 pounds on that three week trip! I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was on the nights we had chicken. At least I think it was chicken...

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@lavikinga: Oh, you made my day with the above comment & your original post!

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What about when the USDA participates in the fraud? I bought "Uncured Pepperoni Pizza" from Aldi not long ago. It doesn't have added nitrates, but it does have added celery juice powder which breaks down into nitrates....and cures the pepperoni. But the USDA requires them to label the pepperoni as uncured.

I don't need to avoid nitrates, personally, but that is the most fraudulent thing I've seen on shelves in a long time. And the government is complicit.

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@omnichad: Well, the USDA and FDA are staffed with industry insiders... so they're watching out for the company's bottom line, not us.