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Food Fraud; What's In Your Shopping Cart?

The food you pay for may not be the food you get.

by Long Island Attorney Paul A. Lauto, Esq.

In past blogs we have written about the need for full disclosure food label laws, in order to safeguard the consumer's right to know what is in our food.  With our current food label requirements or lack thereof, navigating the food mine field of pesticides, antibiotics, GMO's and other toxic ingredients is difficult to say the least.  In addition, consumers also have to contend with food fraud in order to have a healthy meal.

Food fraud is defined as the adulteration, dilution or mislabeling of goods stocked on the shelves.  In other words, the food you think you are buying may be something altogether different.  Food fraud is found to exist in many common items such as fish, alcohol, spices, fruit juice, honey, milk, olive oil and even baby formula, to name a few.  For example, when you buy Red Snapper fish fillets, it is difficult to know if you are actually getting Red Snapper or fillets from a cheaper fish with the same appearance and texture.  When you pay a premium for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it is difficult to know if you are in fact getting the oil from the first press of the olives.
 
While it is difficult to quantify the percentage of food fraud in existence due to all the undetected and unreported cases, estimates range as high as 30% percent for some foods.  The highly profitable nature of food fraud, suggests its existence is based on greed and indifference.  Unfortunately, financial loss is not the only consumer problem when dealing with food fraud.  In many instances, consumers are unaware that food is being substituted with a cheaper and sometimes toxic alternative, or ingredients that many are allergic to such as those that are peanut based.  Accordingly, food fraud is potentially dangerous to your health.

Read all the details and about how to avoid food fraud in our latest Scales of Justice blog at www.liattorney.com/scales-of-justice.html.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rose February 21, 2013 at 06:36 PM
It does at some point become a full time job for working people to read remember and carry with them the various inner vocabularies attatched to not poisoning yourselves and your families with the variety of unsavory elements, chemicals, and additives companies are allowed to use in order to get the most bang for their buck. Somewhere in a file I have a newspaper article telling parents about "crushed Bugs" being touted as a "natural food coloring" in kids cereals. Most recently a "sugar free" ketchup I purchased sounded "too good to be true" I called # on the label on the bottle only to find that the additive I could not decifer was just another name for one I had been trying to avoid feeding my family. Just do your best and look for the product with the least ingredients. Go for organic rather than "natural" or u too could be having BUGS for breakfast.

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