Your Favorite Foods May Be Full of Fake Ingredients

Say What!? 7

The other day I bought some fruit punch ‘drink’ boxes to put in my kids’ school lunches. As I was unloading groceries, my husband made a comment along the lines of, “I could have mixed some sugar and water together for a lot cheaper than whatever you paid for these.”

He’s probably right. At that moment in the store, I just didn’t really care that much. They were on sale, and even if they were full of sugar, at least I knew my kids would drink them. Score a point for hydration!

It turns out that I might not have done much better if I had bought the 100 percent juice, because it seems that many companies are mislabeling their products while using inferior ingredients. Liquid and ground foods are especially susceptible to this food fraud, since it’s easy to mix in different substances and not get caught.

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), a non-profit agency that specializes in detecting food fraud, has conducted scientific experiments to discover the rising number of fake ingredients in products like olive oil, fruit juice, honey, and tea. The biggest culprit is pomegranate juice, which is often diluted with grape or pear juice, despite 100 percent false advertising claims.

"Pomegranate juice is a high-value ingredient and a high-priced ingredient, and adulteration appears to be widespread," senior director for Food Standards at USP Martin Lipp told ABC News. "It can be adulterated with other food juices … additional sugar, or just water and sugar."

What other foods are likely to be faux? USP claims these items are the easiest to tamper with:

Olive oil: often diluted with cheaper oils

Lemon juice: cheapened with water and sugar

Tea: diluted with fillers like lawn grass or fern leaves

Spices: like paprika or saffron adulterated with dangerous food colorings that mimic the colors

Grass in my tea?? What the … ? Gross. Experts say that you can do your best to avoid food fraud by purchasing from brands and suppliers that have a vested interest in keeping repeat customers. Also watch out for deals that seem too good to be true, because they probably are. Things like pomegranate juice and extra virgin olive oil are expensive to produce, so if you’re paying five dollars a quart for it, you’re probably fooling yourself.

Not cool, fakery-faker food companies! We rely on labels to feed our families as best we can, and we pay more for ‘pure’ products. It’s one thing to make a decision to buy flavored sugar water for our kids, but please leave that choice to us.

Are you surprised by these findings?

Image via tasselflower/Flickr

diets, eating habits, eating healthy, healthy habits, natural health, nutrition, in the news, food, food safety, grocery shopping, in my fridge


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lalab... lalaboosh

I'm not surprised at all.

Wheep... Wheepingchree

No, I am not surprised.  I also think it's straight up stupid that you don't read labels of food that you spend your hard-earned money on.  Or do reasearch about the comapnies of products you buy.  Why wouldn't anyone?  Aside from the fact that you are putting these prodcuts on or in your body, you are spending MONEY on them - wouldn't anyone want to know they are spending their money on a quality product?

butte... butterflyfreak

Hell, even the food companies that are being truthful are loading that crap down with fillers and preservatives. Eliminating processed foods in general is the best thing you can do for your family's health! Learn to cook from scratch and you'll never want to eat the pre-packaged garbage again. And yes, I realize that people are busy and it's not always easy to deal with the prep work and cooking, but all it takes is a little planning.


redK8... redK8blueSt8

It's crazy how expensive it is to cook from scratch and eat healthy non processed foods. Produce is outrageously expensive (and loaded with pesticides). Organic is even worse. But a gigantic family size bag of Freetos is $1.80. You think you're doing good getting healthy Omega 3's in your salmon, until you notice the fine print stating the "color enhanced" pink added. Your lean ground beef and milk is laced with growth hormones.  High Fructose Corn Syrup is in everything from bread to ketchup to yogurt.
And then, to make things even worse, is the joke of a "serving size" they use.

nonmember avatar Carly

They can get away with the 100% juice thing because they're adding... Well, juice . It may not be 100% of the same kind of juice, but it's 100% juice.

tuffy... tuffymama

I make everything from scratch. We eat all organic, and as local as possible. It's expensive as hell, so I keep everything else in life really simple and basic.

tuffy... tuffymama

Obviously, I think it's kinda kooky that anyone would buy "juice drinks" without checking ingredients.

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