Food Fraud Creating Dangerous Allergy Risks

Supermarket surprise could leave you sick and angry

You know that old saying that truth is stranger than fiction? Well it turns out that the ingredient labels on some of our favorite foods may be pure fiction — and the strange truth is going to leave you furious.

New research by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention has discovered that outright lying on food labels is a rampant and growing health menace, and you may be exposing yourself to dangerous ingredients without having any clue.

According to USP’s latest research, food fraud is up by a staggering 60 percent this year, and the main culprits are food manufacturers who are diluting their products to save a buck.

The list of faux products is long and shameful — “100 percent pure” olive oils that are actually diluted with cheaper ingredients; bottles of spices loaded with dyed fillers; USP even found a brand of pomegranate juice that had no discernible traces of pomegranate!

This food fakery isn’t just irritating — it can be downright dangerous. When you’re downing a glass of bargain basement breakfast juice, you may be unwittingly exposing yourself to allergens that weren’t reported on the labels.

In fact, that’s exactly what’s happened to many people who thought they were eating white tuna or albacore, only to learn manufacturers had pulled a switcheroo and given them the oily fish escolar instead. The indigestible oils in escolar can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

The National Consumers League is offering good advice that all our mothers have probably given us at one time or another — if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be suspicious of food bargains, and as we’ve told you before, try to buy your food locally from farmers and other merchants you trust.

That one step will go a long way toward keeping you safe, healthy, and free from the mystery ingredients that are increasingly plaguing our food supply.

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