You Think You’re Putting Parm on Your Pasta, But It Might Actually Just Be Wood Pulp

Coming shortly after the news that the mafia is running a fake olive oil racket in Italy, the FDA is now warning cheese lovers that their Parmesan might be not just fake but made of—wait for it—wood bits.

Source: You Think You’re Putting Parm on Your Pasta, But It Might Actually Just Be Wood Pulp

The only way you get that additive is if you buy it in the aisle where the pasta and sauce usually are. Cheese spoils easily, so when in doubt go to the refrigerated section and buy a chunk there. If you grate it yourself (and sing while you grate it, something my Mom used to make me do so I wouldn’t eat the cheese) in a microplane, a little bit goes a long way.

Counterfeiters Have Been Painting Expired Olives to Sell Them

A sting operation in Italy has yielded an unlikely cache of loot: Over 85,000 tons of freshly painted green olives that police just seized from food counterfeiters.

Source: Counterfeiters Have Been Painting Expired Olives to Sell Them

There’s been fraud in olives (and olive oil by extension) for quite a while…

Your Olive Oil Is Only 100% Real If It Tastes Like Ibuprofen

Saying your olive oil is sub-standard isn’t an accusation, it’s just a probability. Adulterated olive oil is extremely common and surprisingly hard to spot. If you’re curious, you might want to grab a bottle of ibuprofen and do a taste test.

Source: Your Olive Oil Is Only 100% Real If It Tastes Like Ibuprofen

I’ve reported about the rampant fraud in olive oil before.

You Think You Like Salmon Because of a Fish Industry Lie

Hey, you, what’s your favorite fish? Oh, salmon, that’s cool. Except that “salmon” may not have been what you think it was at all. So what was it?

Source: You Think You Like Salmon Because of a Fish Industry Lie

One indication of “salmon” is the colour – farmed salmon needs to be dyed to show as pink.  Also be aware of the mercury levels in various fish.

The Great Olive Oil Swindle

Sure, it can be misconstrued as pretentiousness, but after a decade of producing her own, she’s an olive oil insider, intimate with last year’s poor harvest. 2014 was a black year for olive oil, a 15-year low in global production that saw key producers like Spain, Italy and Morocco’s output falling 40 to 50 per cent below average.

Source: The great olive oil swindle

It’s not the first time olive oil fraud has been covered, but the nice part about the article is it provides a couple of things to look for when tasting.  I’ve noticed there’s no smell in the normal olive oil I’ve bought to date, but the extra virgin does.  I’ll have to review to figure out if it’s proper.

The FDA Is Hiding Scientific Fraud, And You Should Be Pissed

Agents of the Food and Drug Administration know better than anyone else just how bad scientific misbehavior can get. Reading the FDA’s inspection files feels almost like watching a highlights reel from a Scientists Gone Wild video. It’s a seemingly endless stream of lurid vignettes—each of which catches a medical researcher in an unguarded moment, succumbing to the temptation to do things he knows he really shouldn’t be doing. Faked X-ray reports. Forged retinal scans. Phony lab tests. Secretly amputated limbs. All done in the name of science when researchers thought that nobody was watching.

Source: Are Your Medications Safe?

Actually, the “news” is pretty exaggerated… the FDA publishes all this on their website.  If no one reads the letters that’s fine, but claiming they are actively hiding fraud while simultaneously publishing what they’re “hiding” is crazy talk.

Study: 1/3 of Shrimp Mislabeled

…for all the wondrous things shrimp are, there is something they are not, always: honest. You may have suspected that the crustaceans—what with their soft shells and their tiny legs and their tendency to turn from gray to pink in just the tiniest bit of heat—have their secrets. Now, we know they do. A third of the shrimp sold in restaurants and supermarkets are, a new study has found, misleadingly labeled. Farm-raised masquerading as wild-caught. One species masquerading as another.

Source: The Shrimp Is a Lie

Sticky Situation: Fraud in Honey

Large scale tests on US supermarket honey now reveal that roughly 75 percent of honey on the market isn’t even real. According to investigation by Food Safety News, today’s mass produced honey is often times void of real pollen, artificially processed and laundered from China. Honey manufacturing experts and the World Health Organization agree that real honey must contain true microscopic particles of pollen, to be considered real, with an identifiable source. Honey void of pollen is an artificial, nutrition-void, watered-down scam.

Source: Seventy-five percent of honey bought at the supermarket isn’t real honey

While the article distinguishes that pollen needs to be present to be called “honey”, it doesn’t say if there’s any value one way or the other.  Lack of pollen would people with pollen allergies wouldn’t have to worry…

While not mentioned in the article – stuff branded as manuka honey is highly suspect, given the interest in it’s perceived health benefits.  Which isn’t any different than the documented fraud in olive oil

Real honey is cloudy, not clear.  Most wouldn’t recognize it if you showed it to them.

Olive Oil Shortage of 2014?

Good thing butter is cool again because there may soon be a shortage of extra virgin olive oil. According to a press release, harvest reports from the “major olive growing areas around the world” show that there will be a significantly smaller crop this year. All-in-all this year’s harvest  — around 2.56 million tons — appears to be nearly 20 percent lower than years past, and far below the 3 million tons consumed last year.

Source: The Great Olive Oil Shortage of 2014 Is Imminent

Given the amount of fraud in the olive oil industry, will we actually notice?

Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Fraud, Corruption and Mafia Involvement

An estimated 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the US are probably fake, according to tests by the University of California. UC Davis tested samples from the top-selling extra virgin olive oil brands to find the ones that are not worth buying and those that are.

Source: The Most (and Least) Fake Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands

The article lists the offenders as well as those who passed the testing.

For a run down of the corruption and mafia involvement, check this New Yorker article: Slipper Business

In 1997 and 1998, olive oil was the most adulterated agricultural product in the European Union, prompting the E.U.’s anti-fraud office to establish an olive-oil task force. (“Profits were comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks,” one investigator told me.) The E.U. also began phasing out subsidies for olive-oil producers and bottlers, in an effort to reduce crime, and after a few years it disbanded the task force. Yet fraud remains a major international problem: olive oil is far more valuable than most other vegetable oils, but it is costly and time-consuming to produce—and surprisingly easy to doctor.