In an explosive book, “Real Food Fake Food,” author Larry Olmsted exposes the breadth of counterfeit foods we’re unknowingly eating.
· Kobe steak when you order the $350 “Kobe steak” is fake
· Red Lobster’s lobster bisque contained a non-lobster meat called langoustine
· extra-virgin olive oil you use on salads has probably been cut with soybean or sunflower oil, plus a bunch of chemicals
· Virtually all salmon, red snapper and white tuna in sushi are fake
· Wild-caught salmon is often farmed and pumped up with pink coloring to look fresher
· Scallops are usually soaked in water and chemicals to up their weight, so vendors can up the price
· Grated Parmesan cheese is almost always fake. Some dairy products labeled “100% Parmesan” contained polymers and wood pulp.
· Many “grass-fed” beef is fake. All that stamp now means, he says, is that in addition to grass, the animals “can still be raised in an industrial feed lot and given drugs.
Sad part is – No one is checking.
Ninety-one percent of American seafood is imported, but the FDA is responsible for inspecting just 2 percent of those imports.
Why is it dangerous?
Seafood fraud puts pregnant women at risk; high levels of mercury in fish are known to cause birth defects.
Allergic reactions to shellfish have been known to cause paralysis.
So, what do you do?
· Next time you shop olive oil: Look for COOC Certified Extra Virgin
· Don’t buy any “sushi grade” or “sashimi grade” stuff. They are fakes.
· Look for the reliable logos MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) for wild-caught fish and BAP (Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices) for farmed
· Use Discount big-box stores such as Costco, Trader Joe’s, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Wal-Mart. They are as stringent with their standards as Whole Foods.
· Look at label PDO — Protected Designation of Origin. This gives the the highest guarantee of authenticity.