Chances are, you don’t.
Rhode Island Rep. Joseph McNamara is currently trying to pass legislation that would make fried squid the official state appetizer. Since Rhode Island is the squid capital of the world – hey, they have to be good at something – chances are the fried rings served there are exactly what they claim to be. Elsewhere, however, they may be serving you deep fried pig anus and calling it calamari.
MMMMM… fried pig anus.
That’s just one of many recent stories of food fraud that has Americans thinking twice about what’s actually on their plate. Diners are now wary of imposters passing themselves off as everything from halibut to honey.
Sadly, you can never be sure what you’re consuming.
Oceana found that 44 percent of all the retail outlets visited sold mislabeled fish. Restaurants, grocery stores and sushi venues all sold mislabeled fish and chances of being swindled varied greatly depending on where the seafood was purchased.
“Our study identified strong national trends in seafood mislabeling levels among retail types, with sushi venues ranking the highest (74 percent), followed by restaurants (38 percent) and then grocery stores (18 percent). These same trends among retail outlets were generally observed at the regional level,” Oceana said in their summary report.
Honey and olive oil are a couple more products to keep an eye on.
Testing done for Food Safety News found that most store honey isn’t honey, with ultra-filtering techniques removing pollen and hiding the honey’s origins.
“More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce. The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled ‘honey,’” wrote Food Safety News.
And there’s more:
Their research found that olive oil, milk, saffron and coffee joined honey and fish as the most commonly fraudulent products on the market. Most of the reported food fraud comes from producers adding fillers or diluting the real deal with less expensive ingredients. Clouding agents were found in 877 food products from 315 different companies. Vegetable oil was discovered in bottles of olive oil. Grape juice was passed for pomegranate juice. Given that even the best palates can be fooled by food tech trickery, it’s difficult to completely avoid being duped.
Bottom line? Be careful and remember, you get what you pay for.