Five Common Food Frauds

food fraudNewberg dentist Dr. Jennifer McLeod and her staff at Newberg Family Dental encourage patients of all ages to eat a healthy, balanced diet as part of good overall dental health. Consumers across the country in general – and in the Pacific Northwest specifically – have gotten pretty picky about what kinds of food they buy and eat on a regular basis. An important part of this trend includes the simple act of reading labels.

But it turns out that the better we get at reading labels as consumers, the sneakier the food manufacturers become. While labels might claim one thing about a product, the reality might be that the food product contains various fillers or less expensive ingredients.

This kind of behavior is called “food fraud” by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which has created a Food Fraud Database to keep track of the offenders. Some of these fraudulent foods might surprise you.

Sketchy Coffee

Coffee is made from simple beans that have been roasted, right? Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In food fraud cases, ground coffee beans have been “refined” with products like figs, glucose, starch, ground parchment, twigs, and roasted barley. It’s best to spend a little more and truly get what you pay for with reliable coffee producers.

Oil from Olives?

Olive oil can be difficult to distinguish from other oils simply by site, and tends to be commonly misrepresented. In many cases, the oil being sold is not what has been labeled; this could be a non-Italian oil that’s labeled as Italian, or Extra Virgin that, in fact, is not extra anything. The oil itself could also be diluted with any variety of other oils, including peanut, soybean, vegetable or corn.

Milk Not From Cows

Maybe hormones in milk isn’t the worst additive we have to deal with. It’s scary but true that milk can be part of the food fraud industry, and has been found to be “refined” with melamine, starch, cow tallow, and detergent, to name a few. Buy organic if you can from a reputable source.

Pure Honey?

Honey is one of the most commonly mislabeled foods, with cheaper varieties passed off as more expensive and “refinements” added. Much of the mislabeled honey comes from Asia and contains antibiotics and lead, as well as high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar and sucrose syrup.

If you can, buy honey from local farmers directly or at Farmers Markets in your area. This will help ensure that the honey you buy is the real, pure thing.

Juiced Together

Juice seems to be a common food fraud case, with varieties of apple juice claiming to be 100% juice but, on closer inspection, contains sugar and has been imported from China. The same can be said for pomegranate and orange juice, which often contain pear juice, grape juice, or just plain high fructose corn syrup.

Food fraud is real but can be avoided through shopping locally and eating unprocessed, whole foods. It’s important to protect yourself and your family in order to maintain good overall dental health!