Buyer Beware: Many ‘Healthy Foods’ Are Contaminated By Food Additives

Pomegranate juice, olive oil and tuna all among list of ‘healthy foods’ found to be contaminated by cheap additives

  • Healthy ingredients added to a list of foods regularly being bulked out with cheap – and sometimes harmful – substitutes by manufacturers
  • Pomegranate and other fruit juices, white tuna, olive oil, powdered spices and maple syrup all appear in the Food Fraud Database

By Kerry Mcdermott

PUBLISHED: 09:33 EST, 25 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:36 EST, 25 January 2013

Most diners would feel pretty virtuous after a meal of tuna prepared in olive oil, washed down with a glass of pomegranate juice.

But all three supposedly healthy ingredients have appeared on a lists of foods that some manufacturers are regularly bulking out with cheaper – sometimes potentially harmful – fillers and substitutes.

The ‘food fraud’ list was compiled by the respected U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which sets quality standards for food and medicines, as it warned consumers that items on supermarket shelves are not always exactly what they seem.

Food fraud: Some manufacturers are selling cheap escolar - a fish that has been linked to a type of food poisoning - masquerading as tunaFood fraud: Some manufacturers are selling cheap escolar – a fish that has been linked to a type of food poisoning – masquerading as tuna, a report warns

Other fruit juices and jams, maple syrup and powdered spices including saffron and turmeric also appear in the organisation’s database of foods to be wary of.

According to the Food Fraud Database some manufacturers are substituting tuna for cheaper escolar, a fish that has been banned in many countries because of its links to food poisoning.

It also states that many types of pomegranate juice – which has been lauded for its health-boosting properties – that claim to be 100 per cent juice are actually diluted with other juices or sweetened water.

Some olive oils are also diluted with less pricey oils, while spices such as turmeric and chilli powder are often contaminated with ‘fillers’.

The report says foreign manufacturers have been known to add clouding agents to lemon juice and other juices to make them appear freshly-squeezed. It cites a case in Taiwan which saw around 4,000 people fall ill after ingesting products laced with dangerous pthalates – a chemical used in plastics.

Honey and maple syrup: High fructose corn syrup or other sugars might be snuck in to enhance sweetness.

Consumers should double check the label on their pomegranate juice, according to the Food Fraud Database
Healthy olive oil is also among the list of foods regularly being contaminated with cheap 'fillers'

‘Fillers’: Pomegranate juice, left, has been said to slow the spread of cancer, while olive oil, right, can help lower cholesterol – but both have appeared on a list of foods that often contain unexpected additives

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention defines food fraud as ‘deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain’.

Dr Markus Lipp, senior director of food standards at the organisation said foods become fraudulent when a manufacturer is not honest with the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other regulatory bodies about what exactly is going into their products.

He told the New York Daily News that the database was compiled to try and ‘promote informed decision making’ among consumers, adding: ‘In general, the U.S. food supply is very safe’.

The content of supermarket beefburgers was last week at the centre of a scandal that erupted when horse meat was discovered in frozen patties being sold at Tesco.
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Posted on January 25, 2013, in Health / Medicine, Science / Technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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