Food Scams, the wild west in the supermarket.

Anytime something you are eating or drinking is labeled to mislead consumers that is considered a scam to me. This time I wanted to consolidate things into 1 article on various scams I see in the supermarkets and which people fall for, even those who care about their health. Some of these I have already touched on in various articles but I still wanted to get more in depth and explain more about them.

1. Olive oil. Wait a second olive oil is good for you! Yes it is, unfortunately the olive oil we are buying from the supermarket a lot of times isn’t real olive oil. Whether its extra virgin vs. regular olive oil, or they throw in other types of oils in there to dilute it. There really isn’t a sure fire way of knowing what you are buying is actually what they claim. I can assure you that if you buy a bottle for a few dollars its highly unlikely what you are buying is extra virgin from Italy. Try drinking your olive oil, if it burns your throat a bit then its more likely you are getting a quality product.. regular vegetable oil will not burn. This isn’t a scientific way to test it but its just my humble way of doing it.

2. Honey. According to the FSN 75% of honey found at the store doesn’t contain pollen, so although its still from bees the pollen has been screened out. Reason for this is to make it difficult to know where it came from so you could be buying Asian honey which could be contaminated with lead and anti-biotics!! You’re best bet is buying local honey from a flea market or co-op.

3. Fruit Juice. Besides being pasteurized I would hope people realize when they buy products like Sunny D or whatever that these aren’t really fruit juices, just a bunch of sugar mixed in with water with flavoring. Squeezing your own juice is the best way.

4. Baby formula. I could write 20 articles on this topic on both sides, but really what this is all about is the quality of the formula you are buying your babies. Expiration dates are tampered with to move the items. Never buy baby formula from flea markets or online auctions and if the expiration date looks tampered then stay away.

5. Spices. Similar to olive oil do you really know what you are buying? Saffron, vanilla extract, turmeric are the most common fraud spices.. Its much cheaper to dilute them or sell something else in their place. In the Asian communities within the USA spices are extremely important and people know this, keeping the prices low through cheating people is also a good way to make money for scammers.

6. Alcohol. Good quality wine is expensive. One scammer in NYC back in 2012 tried to sell counterfeit wines for 1.2M each, but was luckily caught and arrested. To the normal person though this problem will never manifest itself, however if you want to spend hundreds on wine you better make sure you are buying from a trusted source and not really buying a $15 bottle. Most faux wines are just ripoff versions and are not dangerous to consume, however adulterated spirits can become dangerous. Vodka’s have been found to be spiked with anti-freeze and other chemicals. Check logo’s and if something looks funny or tastes funny then don’t mess with it.

7. Fish. I have an article up on fish but to add to what I wrote in that one, lets take a look at the species swap. Even if you go to a fish market and buy fillets how do you know that snapper you are buying isn’t tilefish? The reality is you do not. Red Snapper is highly regulated which drives up the price, however other snappers like Black Snapper are less regulated and can easily be swapped in and sold. This is why selling fish on the side of the road is illegal. If you buy from that guy on the corner a red snapper fillet its highly likely you are really buying something else which might not even be the same family of fish.


One thought on “Food Scams, the wild west in the supermarket.

  1. Thanks Fred. I get so frustrated with food. The fraudulent way it is manufactured and marketed. Food is an essential right in life, just like water and air. Anyone tampering with the supply, manufacturing, or distributing of food should face some stern consequences. That includes false/ fake advertising. No mercy.

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